Fungi munch on plastic and help clean up the environment


In the United Kingdom, the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in London published their State of the World’s Fungi 2018 report that references studies showing that fungi can speed up the breakdown of plastic waste and are optimal feedstock for biofuels, building materials, and other uses. In particular, a fungus called Aspergillus tubingensis is capable of breaking down plastics such as polyester polyurethane (used in a wide diversity of products such as refrigerator insulation and synthetic leather) in weeks rather than years. This ability thus has potential to be developed into one of the tools desperately needed to address the growing environmental problem of plastic waste, according to the report.