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Mushroom that eats plastic

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Tiredretiredlawyer
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Mushroom that eats plastic

#1

Post by Tiredretiredlawyer »

https://www.treehugger.com
Mushroom That Eats Plastic May Help in Fight Against Plastic Waste
Pestalotiopsis microspora can turn polyurethane into organic material, naturally


Students on a class research trip from Yale discovered a rare mushroom in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador back in 2011. The fungus, Pestalotiopsis microspora, can grow on polyurethane, a common polymer in plastic products, and use it as its sole carbon source. According to the Yale research team, the plain-looking light brown mushroom can live in environments with or without oxygen, breaking down and digesting polyurethane before turning it into organic matter.2

In an experiment measuring the rate at which the fungus decomposes matter, they noticed significant clearance in the plastic material after just two weeks. Pestalotiopsis microspora even cleared the plastic faster than Aspergillus niger, the fungus known for causing damaging black mold.

Although the Yale study on P. microspora didn’t examine the edible qualities of the plastic-degrading fungi, the Utrecht University project definitely proves that certain types of mushrooms remain edible even after consuming plastic. Katharina Unger, the designer behind the project, told Dezeen that the resulting mushrooms tasted “sweet with the smell of anise or liquorice,” while the texture and flavor depended on the specific strain. The team even came up with a recipe to flavor the seaweed-gelatin base pod and designed a range of specialized cutlery for eating the mushrooms.

According to a study by the University of Rajasthan in India, plastic-eating mushrooms can sometimes absorb too much of the pollutant in their mycelium, and therefore cannot be consumed due to a large amount of toxins.5 If more research is performed regarding the safety aspects, however, mycoremediation through mushroom cultivation could perhaps address two of the world’s greatest problems: waste and food scarcity.


Fanny Longfellow, the poet's wife, was a pioneer in the use of ether during childbirth despite family objections and prevailing religious attitudes against it.
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bill_g
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Re: Mushroom that eats plastic

#2

Post by bill_g »

Ok. Plastic degradation is fine. But, making food from plastic through an intermediary species? I'm skeptical. Granted we can eat chicken and pork that have been fed BSF larvae (Black Soldier Fly) grown off the manure from these animals, but it's better to not have a closed loop that allows bioaccumulation.


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northland10
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Re: Mushroom that eats plastic

#3

Post by northland10 »

bill_g wrote: Sun May 16, 2021 10:55 am Ok. Plastic degradation is fine. But, making food from plastic through an intermediary species? I'm skeptical. Granted we can eat chicken and pork that have been fed BSF larvae (Black Soldier Fly) grown off the manure from these animals, but it's better to not have a closed loop that allows bioaccumulation.
I was a little confused as to the closed-loop comment as our (and any animal's or plant's) food chain has always been a closed-loop. It is that whole circle of life thing. What might be better is adding a few steps in the process so that the mushroom might, if possible to do safely, be used to compost or another process that allows the growing of other foods while reducing landfill usage.


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Foggy
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Re: Mushroom that eats plastic

#4

Post by Foggy »

Can the mushroom swim? Can we use it for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?


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bill_g
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Re: Mushroom that eats plastic

#5

Post by bill_g »

northland10 wrote: Sun May 16, 2021 6:39 pm
bill_g wrote: Sun May 16, 2021 10:55 am Ok. Plastic degradation is fine. But, making food from plastic through an intermediary species? I'm skeptical. Granted we can eat chicken and pork that have been fed BSF larvae (Black Soldier Fly) grown off the manure from these animals, but it's better to not have a closed loop that allows bioaccumulation.
I was a little confused as to the closed-loop comment as our (and any animal's or plant's) food chain has always been a closed-loop. It is that whole circle of life thing. What might be better is adding a few steps in the process so that the mushroom might, if possible to do safely, be used to compost or another process that allows the growing of other foods while reducing landfill usage.
True, but the natural planet wide closed loop is magnificently large with multiple diversions and convergences. Corporate farming has tried to reduce operating costs by feeding livestock larvae that fed upon the effluent from the same animals. That's a much smaller loop that allows bioaccumulation that has led to problems like bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle, and vCJD in people.

So, I reject the entire concept of "solving world hunger" by feeding people with mushrooms grown on waste plastic. I see that as a justification for continued indiscriminate disposal of plastic products and packaging rather than reducing their volume. It's a cellphone today, and a baby food tomorrow.


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