Certain types of fungi that rot hardwoods can also damage certain polymers such as polyethylene. It was discovered by a group of Sri Lankan biologists, according to the Phys.org portal.
The work began when one of the scientists noticed that several types of fungi could cause the decay of hardwoods in a forest reserve. It is known that some can degrade lignin, a strong polymer present in wood, RT published.
In this sense, molecular and plant biologists from the University of Kelaniya and the University of Peradeniya tested 21 species of fungi that rot hardwood in the laboratory, according to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE
Experts have determined that fungi can break down these compounds with the help of enzymes. Afterward the authors decided to test whether they could also decompose artificial polymers. For the experiment, they put plastic sheets in glasses with mushrooms, and plastic and wood in others.
All containers were stored at a temperature of 28 °C -30 °C for 45 days. After that time, each of the jars is studied using a simple method with a scale: when the fungi rot the wood, the lignin turns into carbon dioxide, which is released into the air, which lightens the weight. this.
The team found that all kinds of fungi rotted the plastic sheet. They also found that the fungus ‘Phlebiopsis flavidoalba’ outperformed other species showing the highest percentage of weight loss.
The discovery could lay the foundation for new methods of using fungi for processing plastic waste.