Organisms that could solve the worlds waste problem

  • Scientists from Yale University have discovered a fungi that can eat and essentially degrade plastic or more precisely polyurethane (PUR).
  • The fungi was found in the Amazon rain forest and could act as a significant weapon against the growing issue of waste management within which PUR is a substantial contributor.
  • Their findings have been published in the article ‘Biodegradation of Polyester Polyurethane by Endophytic Fungi’ for the Applied and Environmental Microbiology journal.
  • This type of research is indicative of considerable progress in bioremediation where biological processes are used to break down a variety of pollutants.

Whilst the fungi are a useful source for bioremediation, more research would be needed to ascertain the aggressiveness of the fungi and the potential risks associated with its use.

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About Julia Chatterton

Systems modeller with a particular expertise in food, farming and agricultural systems. Working with life cycle assessment methods for over 4 years to assess and analyse the environmental burdens associated with food and other production systems.
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