Contact Us

Plastic-Eating Fungi May Solve the Earth’s Garbage Problem

Fungus Eats Plastic
Christopher Furlong, Getty Images

A group of students from Yale University have discovered a species of fungi in the Amazon that eats the common plastic polyurethane. And, what’s more, Pestalotiopsis microspora can nosh on plastic even in an oxygen-free environment, which makes it perfect to survive in a landfill. There you go! Earth’s waste management problem has just been solved! (Not really, but it’s a start.)

The students discovered the amazing fungi during Yale’s annual Rainforest Expedition and Laboratory while traveling in the jungles of Ecuador. Given its diet and ability to survive in harsh conditions, the fungi could be used to break down non-biodegradable plastics, which might otherwise last for centuries in landfills.

The students published their incredible findings in the Applied and Environment Microbiology Journal last year, and concluded that the fungi is “a promising source of biodiversity from which to screen for metabolic properties useful for bioremediation.” In other words, it eats garbage and it’s happy to do it.

Best of the Web

More From Around the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://thefw.com using your Facebook account.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on TheFW quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here.

Sign up for an account to comment, share your thoughts, and earn points to get great prizes.

Register on TheFW quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!