The probable solution to the world’s plastic problem can be growing at a garbage dump in Pakistan. Every day an approximate of 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans which means there may now be around 5.25 trillion macro and microplastic pieces floating in the open ocean. Hence, all in all, this environmental crisis is beyond repair.
A mushroom found in Pakistan now shares a ray of hope to the plastic pollution. A mushroom by the name of Cue Aspergillus tubingensis, has been shown to break down chemical bonds in plastic in a recent study.
An experiment published by Environmental Pollution via ScienceDirect found that this unique fungus has the ability to feed off of plastic. The lab experiments on this fungus found that when the fungus is introduced to polyester polyurethane plastic, the mycelium caused degradation and scarring.
The experiment found that it took just two months for the fungi to biodegrade a type of plastic called polyester polyurethane (PU) into smaller pieces. The Kew report also stated that the Pakistan study of the fungi could be "developed into one of the tools desperately needed to address the growing environmental problem of plastic waste". This positive light has led more than 100 scientists from more than 18 countries contribute to the report by Kew's Royal Botanic Gardens.
The Pakistan study added, “developed into one of the tools desperately needed to address the growing environmental problem of plastic waste” Fungi also has the ability to feed on pollutants such as oil, toxic chemicals, and even radioactive waste.
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They also went on to say that fungi digest its food by secreting enzymes and absorbing the dissolved organic matter back into cells, stating that they deserve more scientific recognition. This first-ever State of the World’s Fungi report highlights the important role they can play in helping clean up the environment.