Researcher, To Sehroon Khan, and his team from China went sampling in Pakistan in 2017. Instead of going to some untouched natural area, they went…(yes, that’s right!) to explore garbage dumps! After collecting samples there, researchers took specimens back to China where they discovered a entirely new strain of Aspergillus tubingensis. Not only did they find this new strain, but also concluded that it can actually degrade polyurethane, which the article explains is used in many items from refrigerators to imitation leather. Currently, only a small fraction of plastics are recycled and thus, further developing this approach of biodegradation using this organism could greatly accelerate the process of plastic decomposition. Currently, the article asserts, plastics are used much of the time because they do not degrade, however that this is also a large part of the problem involving the environment and pollution in various ecosystems. Following some limited testing, To Sehroon Khan’s team determined that this fungus actually has the capability to degrade polyurethane in a matter of weeks instead of years or decades. Although a method for working with this fungus will take a significant period of time to properly develop, these new findings could vastly change the way we look at decomposition and recycling in the future.
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