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08/03/2011 01:28 PM
Yale Undergrads Discover Plastic-Eating Fungi
Yale undergraduates have discovered fungi growing in the Amazon Rainforest that can degrade polyurethane, a finding that could lead to innovative ways of reducing waste in the world's landfills.
The research, detailed in the July issue of the journal, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, is the work of undergraduates who participated in Yale's Rainforest Expedition and Laboratory course, funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Students search for and collect endophytes - organisms found in rainforest plants - and then test them for biological activity. They analyze those that show biological activity to see whether they might have other medical or social uses.
On a 2008 trip to Equador, Pria Anand, Class of 2010, decided to see if the endophytes she collected could be used in bioremediation. A rudimentary test showed that a chemical reaction took place when the endophyte was introduced to plastic. Other students found analyzed endophytes to find those that break down chemical bonds most efficiently.
Originally posted by KilrathiLG
reply to post by Neocrusader
interesting idea on the plaque eating bacteria almost like dentics from far scape(NEVER swallow a dentic!)
i also think its sad that we dont even know what cures or other potental usefull plants we have just killed off in the rainforest,im hoping that this isnt an old fungi but a new reaction from nature to try to clean up the place on its own because not all the humans are on the same level of the green bandwagon thank you for your reply
It's not your average science fair when the 16-year-old winner manages to solve a global waste crisis. But such was the case at last May's Canada-Wide Science Fair in Ottawa, Ontario, where Daniel Burd, a high school student at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, presented his research on microorganisms that can rapidly biodegrade plastic. Daniel had a thought it seems even the most esteemed PhDs hadn't considered.