Mushrooms that eat Plastic...

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Mushrooms that eat Plastic...

Post by Rockhopper on Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:32 pm

Fascinating study!

It’s likely these students already knew about the potential for mushrooms to clean up the planet — mycologists and disaster experts have collaborated on a strategy for utilizing fungi to absorb radiation from the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster. And dinner plate-sized mushrooms have been sopping up petroleum in the oil-ravaged Amazonian province of Sucumbíos since 2006. Now, the students have discovered a particular type of mushroom with the capability to not only digest plastic, but to subsist entirely off an all-plastic diet. Perhaps most encouraging, the Yale students realized this biodegradation can take place in an environment devoid of oxygen, like the bottom of a landfill. Since then, researchers have discovered several more shroom species that have this capability.

The breakthrough inspired Austrian designer/thinker/strategist Katharina Unger to develop, in conjunction with scientists at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, what she calls a Fungi Mutarium. In the prototype, underneath a small, transparent and humidity-controlled dome, Unger incubated two plastic-eating species: Oyster Mushrooms (which are sold at Whole Foods and already used in the breaking down of diapers) and Split Gill Mushrooms (popular in Mexico, Asia and Africa). A couple dozen mushrooms grow under the dome at a time, each in their own gelatinous, egg-shaped pod made of seaweed, which mimics a natural growing surface. Tiny pieces of plastic are sterilized by UV light and placed inside each pod via a pipette dispenser, and as the mushrooms grow, they feed on these strips, without retaining any of the chemical compounds in the plastic. This means that even after consuming plastic these mushrooms are safe for human consumption. Right now, plastic takes several months to biodegrade via this fungi-focused approach, but researchers are working on ways to speed up the process. Assuming this can be replicated on a much larger scale, the potential is great.


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Re: Mushrooms that eat Plastic...

Post by Agartha on Tue Sep 20, 2016 7:56 am

So the mushrooms eat the unwanted plastic and then we can eat the mushroom.  Incredible!

I was actually reading about the bacteria that eats oil and helped clean up the Gulf spill.

I think we try to emulate her, but mother nature is always light years ahead of us.

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Re: Mushrooms that eat Plastic...

Post by Solace on Thu Sep 22, 2016 8:19 am

Fascinating indeed Tim, and agreed Aggie! (mother nature is amazing) I love you

"You know that you have found your passion when your love for it overrides any fear to attain it..."

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