We use polyurethane to make just about everything in our days, it’s easy to produce, durable and cheap too. What it isn’t is recyclable, there isn’t really a single natural process that breaks it down fully, that is until a newly discovered Amazonian fungus was found (Back in 2011).
Pestalotiopsis microspora (shown above) is a resident of the Ecuadorian rainforest and was discovered by a group of student researchers led by molecular biochemistry professor Scott Strobel as part of Yale’s annual Rainforest Expedition and Laboratory. It’s the first fungus species to be able to survive exclusively on polyurethane and, more importantly, able to do so in anaerobic conditions—the same conditions found in the bottom of landfills. This makes the fungus a prime candidate for bioremediation projects that could finally provide an alternative to just burying the plastic and hoping for the best.
Maybe this will one day also be a solution to the “floating islands” of plastic in our oceans. Maybe they are concerns about this being used safely but I guess what I’m here to highlight is how “mother nature” always appears to present a solution to human made problems.
For more information it looks like this blog goes quite in detail: