Scientists discovered a new mushroom that can make plastics biodegradable
According to a report from the Guardian, since the 1950s approximately 8.3 billion tons of plastic has been produced. That's equal to 800,000 Eiffel Towers.
And only 9% of it has been recycled. The remaining are causing drastic effects on our environment. To tackle this issue, scientists and researchers are working really hard to biodegrade plastic.
Our World plastic production has doubled over the past 50 years. If plastic consumption increases at its current rate, there would be more plastics than fishes in the ocean. Fortunately, researchers have found ways to solve this issue. In Pakistan, researchers have found a type of fungus that survives on plastic. This fungus, i.e. Aspergillus tubingensis was found when the researchers were studying soil samples from a landfill in Islamabad. It breaks down polyester polyurethane, a plastic generally used to make car parts, adhesives, synthetic leather and so on. The fungi secrete enzymes that break down the chemical bonds in plastic, and in return, the fungus gets food. However, the fungi release some greenhouse gases in the process. Researchers have not kept a track of it yet, but they are now seeking funding to create a large-scale plastic degradation system through fungi. Another team at Kyoto University has found a plastic munching microbe. It took them 5 years of intensive searching through 250 samples. And at last, they were victorious in finding a bacterium that could live on poly (ethylene terephthalate) (PET). It's a common plastic used in clothing and bottles. They named the bacteria Ideonella sakaiensis. Since then, they have been conducting experiments and working to use the bacteria on a large scale. These findings give a whole new approach to plastic recycling and decontamination. Also, this can help in reversing the effect caused by plastic to the environment.