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Sponsoring Department:
Summer 2021

To combat the environmental and health issue of plastic pollution, we are looking to find a degradation process for plastics. There is a known microorganism phanerochaete chrysosporium that has the ability to degrade PET plastic. We used the enzyme that gives the microorganism this property as a basis for our proposed catalysts. To create the catalyst three different metals; Zinc (Zn), Iron (Fe), and Manganese (Mn) were used to metallate meso Tetra (4-carboxyphenyl) porphyrin (TCPP). Cyclic Voltammetry (CV) was the main electrochemical experiment run to determine if the catalysts would degrade the PET microplastics. The Zn TCPP structure was proposed as a blank study where it was expected and proven to not have any degradation effects on PET microplastic. The Fe TCPP was a candidate for the catalyst, but we were unable to test its degradation effects on PET plastic within the timeframe given. The Mn TCPP metallation was unsuccessful and was therefore not tested during this study.