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A fungus that recycles plastic

Representatives of the environmental division at Erum, as part of a plastic hanger recycling programme, will attend a presentation on innovations and advances in the plastics world, highlighting the discovery by a research group at Yale of a fungus capable of converting organic materials into plastic, guaranteeing biological degradation without threatening the environment.

The fungus, which originates in the forests of Brazil, is able to extract nutrients from synthetic polymers and convert them into organic materials. Experts say that several species of fungus can break down plastic at least partially but that pestalotiopsis is the only one that can do it in an anaerobic atmosphere (that is without oxygen), something which is considered essential for future use in rubbish tips or recycling plants.

The scientists are currently working in the laboratory to identify the enzyme that allows the fungus to digest the plastic, which will enable them to create new processes for eliminating the plastic.

 

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