Every piece of plastic ever produced still exists somewhere in the world today. Whether that be oceans, drains, parks, walkways or landfills.
Therefore, scientists all over the world are looking not only for plastic alternatives but also for ways to solve the actual problem of plastic waste.
A team of researchers who work at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Kunming Institute of Botany has found a fungus that could help save our increasing plastic problem.
While collecting soil samples in a Pakistan landfill, in the hopes that they would find some kind of organism that could feed on plastic waste, they discovered a Plastic-eating Fungus, ‘Aspergillus tubingensis’.
The Plastic-eating Fungus uses enzymes to rapidly break down the chemical bonds between the plastic molecules within plastic materials, by putting the enzymes onto the surface of the plastic. This is an advance that could help deal with the waste problem that continues to threaten our environment.
Temperature and pH levels are factors which could impact how well the fungus can degrade plastic, but if the researchers could determine optimal conditions, the fungus could be used in waste treatment plants, for example.
The study was published in the Environmental Pollution journal.