posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 02:18 AM
Plastic is a wonderful thing. It encases our gadgets, helps keep our food fresh, holds our water, and carries our data, as well as having a
multitude of other uses. But there is one major problem with it: plastic does not breakdown on a reasonable timescale. The chemical bonds are so
strong it is very difficult for nature to degrade it. The end result is lots of waste plastic being buried or clogging up our oceans for the next
several generations. What we need is a way to quickly breakdown plastic waste, and the solution has appeared from an unlikely source. Students from
Yale discovered a new type of fungus, called Pestalotiopsis microspora, while on a Rainforest Expedition and Laboratory trip to the Amazon rainforest
in Ecuador. While there, the students were tasked with collecting microorganism and plant cell samples, and the fungus became one such sample. When
the students returned, it was discovered this fungus loves eating plastic, more specifically polyurethane, which we use millions of tons of every
year. Popular uses include foam for inside furniture, building insulation and flooring, as a sealant, varnish, or paint, for making surfboards and
inflatable boats, and it even gets used to make watch straps and garden hoses.
Looks like we might have a solution to all the plastic waste we're producing right now. I find it incredibly beautiful that a natural fungus would eat
something man made and unnatural like plastic. It's almost poetic.
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edit on Sun Feb 5 2012 by DontTreadOnMe because: (no reason given)