Should plastic eating fungus go in the box?
- By Helen Craig -
- Feb 14, 2012
One suggestion we had for the Big Red Box of sustainable lifestyles, was the discovery of Pestalotiopsis microspora. Students at Yale on the Rainforest Expedition and Laboratory course discovered this fungus in the jungles of Ecuador with molecular biochemistry professor, Scott Strobel. The aim of their mission was to “experience the scientific inquiry process in a comprehensive and creative way,” but quite by chance came across something completely new to science.
Whilst cultivating micro-organism within plant tissues, they discovered a fungus which was able to survive on a diet of just polyurethane waste. What is particularly interesting is that it is able to do this in anaerobic environment, similar to the conditions found at the bottom of a landfill.
Jonathan Russell, one of the students who helped make the discovery, explained that "I don't want it to be broadcast as the cure-all to pollution, but it's a modest step towards a very important goal." He continued, "growing up in a world where pollution is going to be a big issue in the future, coming up with creative ways to tackle it, gets me excited."
We think discoveries like this are a great suggestion as one of the components for the Big Red Box. To let us know what you think makes up a sustainable lifestyle for you, comment below or tweet using hashtag #bigredbox.