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fungus able to digest polyurethane





fuzzkaizer
anyone heard about that one: Pestalotiopsis microspora
it's sort of a fungus found on rainforest trees, capable to rot down plastic
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pestalotiopsis_microspora

it should be combined with the 'great pacific plastic patch' somehow, one step of many to form an artificial island out of plastic garbage...
watersoul
If they break waste down at the rate a garden compost pile does for bio waste then this could be a very interesting future development. I've only done a few searches so far but found little about the amounts converted per fungi.
I'd be impressed if we could all have our own plastics compost pile, but I imagine it will involve a lot of extra tech to speed/maximise the process for commercial use...hope I'm wrong.

Very interesting though Smile
coolclay
That could definitely lead to some great breakthroughs. Especially if the genes to enable the degradation could be spliced into some species of bacteria or even plankton.
LxGoodies
Yep, could be interesting to solve the current heavy sea pollution with plastics.

Land fungus cannot be used for it. The fungus that is selected should be able to live in salty water conditions.

One particular species of this fungus could be investigated (or modified) for this purpose,

http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1038/ncomms2850?locale=en

Mangrove forest are in salt water..
Peterssidan
If there were more effective lifeforms that breaks down plastic in the wild it would also break down plastics in products that are still in use. This could lead to the use of more toxic substances in plastic to prevent them from breaking down too quickly.

As far as I know there wasn't any plastic before humans started making it, but now there are a lot of plastic so I wouldn't be surprised if some fungi and bacteria evolve to live on plastic, and possibly other materials that humans make. This could make some materials that we use today useless in the future.
fuzzkaizer
on the other hand, the plastic garbage piled up until that future could make some other things that we use today quite polluted (oceans, air, soil, etc.). what would you choose now, if you had to?
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