Did You Hear About The Plastic-Eating Mushrooms - The Urban Menu
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Did You Hear About The Plastic-Eating Mushrooms
Source: https://www.colorado.edu/ecenter/2021/11/04/plastic-eating-mushrooms

Did You Hear About The Plastic-Eating Mushrooms 

We are here to introduce one magic type of mushroom- and no, not the magic type you may think of!

Recycling plastic can be a very long and hard process, and over-production which leads to pollution is one of the biggest issues of modern society.

Recently, one solution to this problem occurred- scientists found a rare fungus in the Amazonian rainforests of Ecuador- a type of fungus that consumes one type of plastic- polyurethane and transforms it into organic matter. 

This rare type of fungi called Pestalotiopsis microspora can be the solution to degrading plastic. 

How Can These Fungi Be Of Help?

Katharina Unger, an industrial designer, collaborated with Julia Kaisinger and other scientists at Utrecht University to harness the power of these amazing fungi. They speculated on the fungus and, after speculating how they work, created a prototype project which uses pods of seaweed-based gelatine called agar, as a base for the fungi. 

A result came by combining science, design, and creativity- and it was named Fungi Mutarium

So How Does It Work?

These fungal-based pods are filled with a nutrient-packed base and plastic and then covered with a “growth sphere”, which eats up the plastic and other nutrient additives like starch and sugar. 

The product of this masterpiece is an edible mushroom-like cup. It can be filled with other food or be eaten alone and is reported to have a sweet flavor and resemble the taste of licorice. 

This process can take up to several months, but the end product- edible fungi which are fed plastic- sounds amazing and intriguing.

This project is only a prototype, so we still can’t tell if there’s a future in eating plastic-fed fungi. 

Nevertheless, the wonders of nature mesmerize us once again!

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