CARBIOS depolymerizes 90% of PLA material in 48 hours with its innovative enzymatic process

Carbios (NYSE Alternext in Paris: ALCRB), an innovative green chemistry company specializing in breakthrough technologies dedicated to the recovery of plastic waste and the production of bio-polymers, announces that it successfully managed to depolymerize 90% of polylactic acid (PLA) material – a thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources – in only 48 hours, using its cutting-edge enzymatic process.

These exceptional results were obtained by the team from the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) in Toulouse, France (Toulouse White Biotechnology (TWB) and the Systems Biology and Process Engineering Laboratory (LISBP)) both of which are Carbios’ partners on the Thanaplast™ project. They have prompted Carbios to continue successfully developing its depolymerization process of polyesters, including PLA plastic wastes.

The enzyme patented by Carbios induces the catalytic depolymerization of PLA waste at a rate that comes close to industrial performances. Such catalytic activity was tested on consumer goods made of PLA, including cups, trays, plastic films and flatware, whose semi-crystalline properties make it difficult for the enzyme to operate. This exceptional performance marks the beginning of the production scale-up of Carbios’ bio-recycling process. It allows the company to contemplate a faster manufacturing process than had been initially scheduled.

PLA is the fastest-growing market in the plastic industry, credited with a 10% to 30% increase depending on the sources (European Bioplastics, Nova Institute, etc.). With a relatively low yearly production of 200 000 tons, this bio-based plastic polymer also has a significant growth potential due to its extraordinary physical and chemical properties, which make it the main alternative to polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the primary plastic polymer used for plastic bottles and other packaging products. Compared to PET, PLA has two significant advantages: its biocompatibility (it is a material of choice for medical transplants and implants); and its perfect fit for 3D printing techniques.

The results obtained by Carbios with PLA will enable the company to expand its technology to other plastic polymers, including PET and PTT, the latter of which is the main component of carpets.

“These unprecedented results validate Carbios’ strategy and the company’s ambition to manufacture its patented environmentally friendly PLA depolymerization method. By breathing new life into the plastic waste industry, they confirm Carbios’ position as a major player in the circular economy,” concluded Jean-Claude Lumaret, CEO of Carbios.

About Carbios

Carbios is a green chemistry company whose innovations help address the environmental and sustainable development challenges facing manufacturers. Since its creation in 2011 by Truffle Capital, the Company has developed, through biotechnology, two industrial processes that revolutionize the biodegradation and recycling of polymers. These innovations, a world first, optimize the performance and lifecycle of plastics and textiles by exploiting the properties of highly specific enzymes.

Carbios’ economic development model is based on the industrialization and commercialization of its products and/or enzymes, technologies and bioprocesses through license concessions directly or through joint ventures to major industrial players or sectors concerned by the Company’s innovations. As such, Carbios created the joint venture Carbiolice in September 2016, in partnership with Limagrain Ingredients and the SPI fund operated by Bpifrance. This company, of which Carbios has majority control, will exploit the first technology licensed by Carbios by producing enzymatic granules for the production of biodegradable and biobased plastics.

Carbios benefits from the qualification “Innovative Company” of Bpifrance allowing the eligibility of the Company’s securities for the investment of Mutual Funds Placement in Innovation (FCPI). For more information, please visit:

Carbios is eligible for the PEA-PME, a government program allowing French residents investing in SMEs to benefit from income tax rebates.

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