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Fungi eat plastic and can survive without oxygen; may clean ocean and landfills

Ian CrosslandMar 27, 2015, 6:48:03 PM

A group of students from Yale's Department of Molecular Physics and Biochemistry traveled to Ecuador and found a fungus that wants to eat polyurethane.  This new type of fungus can digest polyurethane in two weeks, rather than the 1,000 years it would take just sitting around.

It's the first fungus ever found to survive on only polyurethane, no oxygen needed, which is why they want to use it at the bottom of landfills.

The fungus is called Pestalotiopsis microspora and is assumed to work by releasing a serine hydrolase, which degrades the polyurethane.  It functions equally as well under water, so we may be able to clean the oceans with them.

Since the discovery, researchers have found that they can degrade the plastic and it will not retain any toxicity.  It can actually be eaten by humans with nutritional value.



From 2012, Joe Rogan discusses the breakthrough when they found the mushroom


Maybe the mushrooms heard our call and through meiosis, were able to rapidly develop to save the planet from the plastic.





Image Credit: http://modernfarmer.com/2015/01/plastic-eating-mushrooms-save-world/