Plastic Cleaning Mushrooms (Download PDF)

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In a major breakthrough in the field of Science & Technology, the Scientists have developed such mushrooms that can eat plastics. These mushrooms are capable of living without oxygen and can flourish even at the bottom of a landfill for instance.

These mushrooms could be used to decompose the massive amounts of plastic. They could even be grown and used this way in composting systems at home. Mushroom extracts are often used in skin products for treating skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, and acne.

This is image show in Plastic Cleaning Mushrooms

This is Image Show in Plastic Cleaning Mushrooms

This is image show in Plastic Cleaning Mushrooms

Background & Overview

  • A couple of Yale Students in 2012 discovered a rare species of mushroom in the Amazon rainforest called Pestalotipsis microspora.

  • This fungus could live solely on a diet of polyurethane, the main ingredient in plastic products.

  • Some of the mushrooms can eliminate plastics and thereafter can be eaten as well.

  • At Utrecht University in Netherlands Fungi Mutarium was set up.

  • Fungi Mutarium was basically a mini-garden allowing them to cultivate two fungi strains-Schizophyllum commune and Pleurotus ostreatus.

  • Both of these are not only commonly eaten, but can also “eat” massive amounts of plastic.

  • The team first sterilized the plastic they were using in UV light, also starting the degradation process.

  • That plastic is then placed in a little cup-like piece with a small pod of agar, which is a jelly-like substance made from red algae.

  • The fungus mycelium is then added to these cups, and left to grow in the pod, eventually consuming the plastic and turning into a fluffy mushroom-like structure.

  • This whole process takes about two months, but the researchers are still working on a way to speed along the process.

  • Though the sampling of the mushrooms with no negative effects has been done, Scientists are yet to confirm that it’s indeed not toxic anymore so they can be safely consumed.

  • If and when that happens, it means a way to solve both our plastic pollution problem as well as help fix the food crisis in one stroke.

Other Significance of Mushrooms

  • Used for making papers that helps in cleaning our clothes.

  • In the production of antibiotics.

  • They are also sources of treatments for migraines and statins for treating heart disease.

  • Capable of producing compounds that could treat diseases that currently have no cure, such as HIV and Zika Virus.

- Published/Last Modified on: August 15, 2019


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