Pollution of our planet with plastic waste is alarming. Among other things, vital water resources and oceans suffer from them. According to one recent study, there are at least 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean.
Production and consumption of plastics continues to grow. Plastics are used in all industries. From medicine, packaging, toy industry to automotive and electronics. Our consumer society using plastics is not very environmentally friendly.
In 2012, Yale University students discovered a rare species of mushroom Pestalotiopsis microspora in the Amazon rain forest, able to feed on the main constituent of plastic – polyurethane. Another peculiarity is that the mushroom can live without oxygen. This fact offers the idea that it would be an ideal means of cleaning landfills.
The basis of future municipal waste centers?
According to the Epoch Times, some scientists have expressed the idea that mushrooms that consume plastics could be the basis of future municipal waste centers and replace massive landfills.
Utrecht University in the Netherlands made a study with oyster mushrooms and other types of mushrooms. Mushrooms were placed in plastic waste agar cups and kept in a controlled climate dome. After about a month, the mushroom‘s roots consumed and converted plastic into polyurethane-free eatable biomass.
Katharina Unger, the leader of the study for Utrecht University, says that this edible biomass has a reather neutral taste and resembles the smell of anise or licorice. Jelly substances can have any taste you choose. Although this may sound bizarre, such a discovery could be part of a new solution to the world’s food shortage. Utrecht University expects that digestion will be much faster once the processes are fully explored and optimized.
Reducing the decomposition time of plastic from 400 years to just a few months with Pestalotiopsis microspora and other types of plastic-consuming mushrooms opens the door to improving and saving the environment.
Source: aem.asm.org/content/77/17/6076, themindunleashed.com/2019/04/scientists-found-edible-mushroom-that-eats-plastic.html