Friday, July 6, 2012

Tree fungus eats plastic

Students at Yale University made ​​discovered plastic eating fungi which are naturally growing on tree trunk in the Ecuadorian Yasuni National Reserve forests.

The students viewed the behavior of a few dozen symbiotic fungi to see the extent to which the plastic could break. These fungi were in herbaria at Yale University and in Ecuador, under certain circumstances, such as a constant temperature, stored in plastic bags. After two weeks, there was absorption by the plant material is visible. It was found that about half of the different species of fungi the plastic is fully able to absorb.

The plastic production has grown from 1.5 million tonnes in 1950 to 245,000,000 tons in 2006, 150 times as much, the students write in their motivation for the research, and production is still increasing, even though we all know that the waste of plastic is harmful to the environment. For that reason, they went looking for organisms that absorbing capacity. The beauty of some fungi, such as Pestalotiopsis microspora is that it can survive on only polyurethane plastic, and that in a omegving without oxygen. This means that this fungus can live on the bottom of landfills.

[Translated from Dutch]

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