National News

Mushrooms Eat Plastic

Website reports, “Scientists have discovered a mushroom that eats plastic, and it could clean our landfills.”

In 2012 students at Yale University found that a rare species of mushroom in the Amazon rainforest consumes polyethylene and converts it to organic matter.

The mushroom — Pestalotiopsis microspora is it’s scientific name — may clean up landfills, floating garbage in the oceans, and might even become the main ingredient in systems to turn domestic plastic waste into compost.

YUP.COM anticipates the concerns of anyone who has seen a few science fiction movies and fears a biosphere choked by plastiphagic fungi — “…(S)ome plastic-eating species,” the oyster mushroom, for example, “can be eaten.”

Staffers at London’s venerable Kew Gardens are vouching for the plastic-assimilating power of Pestalotiopsis microspora. “Their first ever, State of the World’s Fungi 2018, confirms that not only can mushrooms help break down plastic, their finished products (called mushroom bricks) can be used to create furniture and building materials. Additional benefits include mushrooms’ abilities to remove pollutants from soil and to enable the conversion of waste into biofuels. These amazing abilities of mushrooms have given scientists as well as leaders in architecture and design a way to view to the future with a hopeful eye.”

If it all sounds too good to be true, you may allay your fears with additional articles from, Wired and Applied and Environmental Microbiology® .

And don’t thank us now, but we’ll be keeping an eye on the restaurant websites, as well.

About the author

Brad Hall

Brad Hall

Brad Hall is a pastor and the author of "Lousy Roger and Other Tales: A collection of Lectionary-based Sermons," available on In 2014, after 27 years of courtship, he married pop culture scholar Deborah Ann Miller. They share a place with two dogs, Scotty and Demitasse, and two cats, Quirkie and Brucie.

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