Ever had a flash of mind as to the amounts of polyurethane in our dumpsites, sitting there for hundreds of years before eventualy turning back to dust? Well recently a group of Yale students discovered a mushroom species originating in Ecuador, that may prove to assist us in disposing of our waste. The mycelium of these mushrooms can live without light and in the absense of air, and eat plastic products as its primary food.
Students Jonathan Russell and Pria Anand have written in the journal ‘Applied and Environmental Microbiology’, that the enzyme the fungus uses to decompose plastic has been isolated.
It is also worth mentioning that the same genus Pestalotiopsis has been extensively studied for its role as a plant pathogen but also as a commonly isolated endophyte which has been recorded to produce diverse metabolites. Read more here.