Plastic has become an essential part of our daily lives and we can no longer live without it. It has been estimated that 9 billion tons of plastic have been produced since the 1950’s with most of it left to end up in landfills or the ocean.
Plastics aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Plastic bottles and take up to 450 years to decompose, and the plastic bags we use every day will take up to 1000 years. A major problem crying out of a big solution.
Aspergillus tubingensis is a darkly pigmented fungus found in soil. Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Kunming Institute of Botany, have been studying the effect it has on plastics and how it could be our solution to our waste problem. They observed the fungus degrading plastic it was placed on, secreting enzymes capable of breaking down the bonds between individual molecules and then use its mycelia to break them apart.
If utilized efficiently, the fungus could help save us all from drowning in plastic. Researchers have already studied factors such as pH balance and temperature which affect its ability to munch down plastics. Finding the Goldilocks zone for the fungus would increase its plastic consuming abilities.
It may also have uses for water filtration. Microplastics are contaminating our water supplies and there is little to filter out tiny plastic particles.
Read the origianl article here