News and Success Stories

Published 28 August 2023

Wood-Munching Fungi Developing A Taste for Plastic

Researchers have discovered that fungi isolated from rotting hardwood trees can break down polyethylene, a common type of plastic used in shopping bags, food wrap, and bottles. These fungi, which are capable of degrading lignin in hardwood, demonstrate the ability to adapt their metabolic behavior depending on the environment.

While this finding holds promise for potentially tackling plastic pollution, more research is needed to understand the specific enzymes involved in the decay process and to explore the fungi's potential to break down other materials. 

Cleaning up our own mess would be a lot easier if we could get some hungry fungi to help. Where in the supply chain would you add this fungi to give breaking-down a head start?