Mixed Plastics Waste Valorization through Tandem Chemical Oxidation and Biological Funneling

Kevin Sullivan, Allison Werner, Kelsey Ramirez, Lucas Ellis, Jeremy Bussard, Brenna Black, David Brandner, Felicia Bratti, Bonnie Buss, Xueming Dong, Stefan Haugen, Morgan Ingraham, Mikhail Konev, William Michener, Joel Miscall, Isabel Pardo, Sean Woodworth, Adam Guss, Yuriy Roman-Leshkov, Shannon StahlGregg Beckham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Scopus Citations


Mixed plastics waste represents an abundant and largely untapped feedstock for the production of valuable products. The chemical diversity and complexity of these materials, however, present major barriers to realizing this opportunity. In this work, we show that metal-catalyzed autoxidation depolymerizes comingled polymers into a mixture of oxygenated small molecules that are advantaged substrates for biological conversion. We engineer a robust soil bacterium, Pseudomonas putida, to funnel these oxygenated compounds into a single exemplary chemical product, either b-ketoadipate or polyhydroxyalkanoates. This hybrid process establishes a strategy for the selective conversion of mixed plastics waste into useful chemical products.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number378
Pages (from-to)207-211
Number of pages5
Issue number6616
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All rights reserved.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2A00-82284


  • biological funneling
  • mixed plastic waste
  • plastics upcycling
  • tandem chemical oxidation


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