Polyurethane-Eating Fungi Isolated in China

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In China, researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Kunming Institute of Botany have isolated a fungus that can produces polyurethane-degrading enzymes.

Dubbed Apergillus tubingensis, the group says the enzymes attack the polymer’s ester and urethane groups. Polyurethane is the fifth-largest polymer in terms of production volumes, with 8 million tons produced annually. It is used to produce foam seating, wheels, tires, adhesives, coatings, and fabrics such as Spandex.

The work was reported in the journal Environmental Pollution and funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China.