Engineering Enzymes for Environmental Sustainability: Article No. e202309305

Emily Radley, John Davidson, Jake Foster, Richard Obexer, Elizabeth Bell, Anthony Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus Citations


The development and implementation of more efficient and sustainable technologies is key to delivering our net-zero targets. Here we review how engineered enzymes, with a focus on those developed using directed evolution, can be deployed to improve the sustainability of numerous processes and help to conserve our environment. Efficient and robust biocatalysts have been engineered to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) and have been embedded into new efficient metabolic CO2 fixation pathways. Enzymes have been refined for bioremediation, enhancing their ability to degrade toxic and harmful pollutants. Biocatalytic recycling is gaining momentum, with engineered cutinases and PETases developed for the depolymerization of the abundant plastic, PET. Finally, biocatalytic approaches for accessing petroleum-based feedstocks and chemicals are expanding, using optimized enzymes to convert plant biomass into biofuels or other high value products. Through these examples, we hope to illustrate how enzyme engineering and biocatalysis can contribute to the development of more environmentally sustainable approaches, in order to protect our planet.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages14
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number52
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2800-87182


  • bioremediation
  • carbon capture
  • directed evolution
  • enzyme engineering
  • plastic recycling
  • sustainability


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