Nature Fights Back: Plastic-Eating Fungus Discovered

> Nature Fights Back: Plastic-Eating Fungus Discovered

20th October 2014

The natural world grows antidotes close to poisonous or harmful plants, traditional plant wisdom says. An everyday example of this is the dogweed-plant, which helps against nettle stings when rubbed onto the skin.

The same principle may also be relevant at a larger scale, as it seems that interesting things are happening when it comes to fighting pollution.

Various scientists around the world have recently discovered bacteria, fungus, worms and other organisms which are capable of safely disposing of plastic, oil, air pollution and even radioactivity.
bioremediation, plastic biodegradation image

Plastic-Dissolving Organisms Discovered

In 2012 a team of Yale researchers found several species of polyurethane (PUR) eating fungi in the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador.

The most efficient of these was pestalotiopsis microspora which seemed to be able to grow on PUR as its sole carbon source. It thrived in both oxygen-rich and non-oxygen environments, which is unusual, but might prove a useful benefit when it comes to waste disposal.

The fungus lives within a variety of plant species, and thus belongs to the group of endophytes. It causes rot and disease in its host plant.

This ability to break down matter becomes exiting, however, when applied to polyurethane, one of the most common and pollutant plastics in the world today.

Apparently an enzyme secreted by the fungus was responsible for the PUR degradation. This enzyme was found to belong to the serine hydrolase family of enzymes.

The researchers stated: "Endophytes are a promising source of biodiversity from which to screen for metabolic properties useful for bioremediation. [...] It is possible that activities against other [more difficult plastics] could be discovered using this abundant source of biodiversity."

Bioremediation is 'a treatment that uses naturally occurring organisms to break down hazardous substances into less toxic or non-toxic substances'.

Although forms of bioremediation were already used during the Roman times to treat their waste water, and have been commercially used in the industrial world since 1972, it has not yet provided an adequate solution to the world's problem of a vast variety of slow-to-degrade and toxic waste materials.

However, discoveries of these 'waste-munching' properties of new organisms is suggesting that we may be getting much better at natural waste-disposal.

The USA Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Reports: "Contaminants [currently] treated using bioremediation include oil and other petroleum products, solvents and pesticides."


American Society for Microbiology: Biodegradation of Polyester Polyurethane by Endophytic Fungi, 21 June 2011.
The US Environmental Protection Agency: A Citizen's Guide to Bioremediation (pdf)

Jump to top of page

The best natural health tips from this website - 2nd edition!

This book came out of a necessity to begin putting in one coherent place, neatly ordered, all the amazing ways we can use to naturally reclaim back our health, free of charge.

70 brief chapters, each introducing you to the benefits of a certain technique, or a trick, to improve your health frugally. Natural, noninvasive and easy techniques. Pick the ones that suit your lifestyle and begin enjoying the good life!

  • Many of the best insights from the last six years of writing Cheap Health Revolution
  • Amazing benefits of everyday habits you didn't know about
  • Many of the methods are tried and tested
  • Links to additional information, book recommendations, etc.
  • Free and very cheap methods
  • Suitable for busy lifestyles
  • Most methods are suitable for any healthy dietary preference

You can view the full contents as well as the first few chapters for free on Amazon.

We guarantee that you will find the book helpful or we will refund your payment.

JUST PUBLISHED! On the 25th of April...

Purchase Now on Amazon!


Continue reading....

Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation

You will also find some interesting things if you do an internet search for: 'Bioremediation News'.

Radiation Neutralizing Fungus Discovered
Worms Remove Toxic Metals from Soil
Effective-Microorganisms: An Earth-Saving Revolution?

To be safe, please consult your health-care provider before attempting self-treatment for health issues.

2nd Edition Just Published! View on Amazon

Meet the Editor:

Ulla is the Editor of Cheap Health Revolution, covering natural remedies and health solutions.


"Your body's ability to heal is greater than anyone has permitted you to believe." - Unknown