Polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT) is a biodegradable alternative to polyethylene and can be broadly used in various applications. These polymers can be degraded by hydrolases of terrestrial and aquatic origin. In a previous study, we identified tandem PETase-like hydrolases (Ples) from the marine microbial consortium I1 that were highly expressed when a PBAT blend was supplied as the only carbon source. In this study, the tandem Ples, Ple628 and Ple629, were recombinantly expressed and characterized. Both enzymes are mesophilic and active on a wide range of oligomers. The activities of the Ples differed greatly when model substrates, PBAT-modified polymers or PET nanoparticles were supplied. Ple629 was always more active than Ple628. Crystal structures of Ple628 and Ple629 revealed a structural similarity to other PETases and can be classified as member of the PETases IIa subclass, α/β hydrolase superfamily. Our results show that the predicted functions of Ple628 and Ple629 agree with the bioinformatic predictions, and these enzymes play a significant role in the plastic degradation by the consortium.
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