Jungle fungus eats plastic, beats cancer

Pestalotiopsis microspora image by Yale University

By Rady Ananda
Activist Post

Researchers have found the first endophytic fungus that eats plastic, and can use it as its sole food source even in an oxygen-free environment. [1] 

Pestalotiopsis microspora presents a massive bioremediation opportunity for landfills, where buried and surface plastics can be degraded naturally.

More likely, though, the enzyme responsible for degrading polyurethane (PUR) will be tweaked, patented and commercialized.  There will be no mad escape into urban centers where the mold will eat all our plastics, like medical scientist Kit Pedler envisioned in his sci-fi classic, Mutant 59: The Plastic Eaters.

One hopes, anyway.

Dubbed the “the E. coli of temperate and tropical rainforest systems,” P. microspora is ubiquitous in rainforests around the world, signifying its substantial role in forest ecosystem health. [2]

It also produces taxol, a chemical used to treat breast and ovarian cancers, though the Himalayan yew is more commercially profitable for extracting it.

The PUR-degrading enzyme “is extracellular, secreted and diffusible,” said the Yale University researchers who made the discovery.  The jungle fungus spits out an enzyme that diffuses to “a significant distance” from its body, expanding the potential range of cleanup.

Though touted in the media as a mushroom, P. microspora is actually a mold belonging to the Ascomycota phylum. Mushrooms belong to Basidiomycota.   As an endophyte, it lives symbiotically within plants, whereas mushrooms tend to be ectophytes that live on plants.

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12 responses to “Jungle fungus eats plastic, beats cancer

  1. hi Rady, I see you did a lot more work digging up detailed info. well done:-) Just had a friends hound show up a bone cancer:-( , we are looking to funghi as viable alternatives to the toxic chemo for treatment also.

    • wow, good luck with that, Oz. we had a dog that developed blood cancer and today I’m convinced it was from factory-made dog food

    • You will know this already, but just in case, around 67% of dogs eating canned dogfood get cancer. Dogs should really eat their natural food which is raw meat, and maybe some raw grass or whatever other raw stuff they occasionally eat otherwise. I know B17 is in the white part of the grass at the bottom of the stem, and dogs love to chew on that, especially when they get ill, so maybe they can sniff out the marzipan type smell of the cyanide compounds in that, that they know will heal them. Colloidal silver has been shown to kill 98% of leukaemia cells in vivo within 24 hours, I read that in a publication by a company called sovereign silver around 10 years ago. If you want to make silver sol to a specific ppm value, more accurate than the 3 pp9 batteries and two silver rods in a jam jar of water type, which is good for most applications anyway, check out my blog on this at ‘Mothman777’s Blog’. The jam jar type is great for emergencies like this, though if anyone is interested in a more accurate method of manufacture to produce, say 2ppm or 5ppm pretty much exactly, then the more accurate method of production is described there.

  2. Rady, did you learn what it breaks plastic down to? Does is it actually break it down far enough that it is no longer a hormone disrupter? Do you know the molecular chunks it leaves behind? Or does it break it down so the naked eye can’t see it anymore? I’d be ecstatic if it actually breaks it down so that it will cause no more harm.

  3. rady,
    paul stamets with fungiperfecti has done tons on related too. has a couple excellent TED’s. they got a link to this site this morning. their pretty comprehensive so will be looking for sure. thank you for the info.
    ps mercola.com has a related pet care site and touches on those cancer connections all the time. good stuff too.

  4. Pingback: The Progressive Mind » Jungle fungus eats plastic, beats cancer | Food Freedom

  5. Pingback: Amazonian Fungi Easts Plastic AND Cures Cancer? | Indigenous Designs Blog

  6. Reblogged this on Rainforest ECO blog and commented:
    Yet another reason to preserve the Amazon…

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