Fungus That Can Break Down Plastic In Just Weeks Discovered At Pakistan Garbage Dump

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Plastic, probably one the most versatile household items, used as carrying bags, utensils, toys and you name it, but the biggest bane for the environment. Plastic does not break down in the same way as other organic materials, it can persist in the environment for long periods of time.

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But scientists may have found a solution to this crisis. They discovered a soil fungus, which uses enzymes to rapidly break down plastic materials in an Islamabad garbage dump. 

This particular fungus could help a great deal with the waste problem that threatens our environment. Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, took samples of soil and various pieces of rubbish in hopes of finding an organism that could feed on plastic waste in the same way that other fungi feed on dead plant or animal material.

Aspergillus tubingensis is a fungus, which ordinarily lives in the soil. In laboratory trials, the researchers found that it also grows on the surface of plastics.

It secretes enzymes onto the surface of the plastic, and these break the chemical bonds between the plastic molecules, or polymers.

Using advanced microscopy and spectroscopy techniques, the team found that the fungus also uses the physical strength of its mycelia — the network of root-like filaments grown by fungi — to help break apart the polymers.

Scientists believe that this soil fungus could be the go-to solution for growing plastic problem. 

PTI Inputs

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Source : http://www.indiatimes.com/news/world/fungus-that-can-break-down-plastic-in-just-weeks-discovered-at-pakistan-garbage-dump-330320.html

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