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This planet is just awesome!

No matter how much we try to destroy this planet as humans, it seems mother nature is one step ahead. Thank GOODNESS!
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318 comments
 
What kind of waste product does the fungi produce?
 
Yay!! Now we can finish cutting down all of the Amazon to collect this stuff! ;)
 
It appears it turns it into carbon -

"This investigation established the robust polyurethane degradation activity under anaerobic conditions in which the synthetic polymer served as the only carbon source for the fungus."
 
Plastic eating fungi,my nature;s a wonder!
 
This is why it is important that we do not destroy the rain forests.
 
Wow. Shout out to Mother Gaia. Nice fungi!
 
that's brilliant! bring it over to the UK, we need a lot of it
 
well, they should start finding ways to get that plant growing all over the world. For it is desperately needed in some countries.
 
she's up to it jejejeje we just haven't noticed, but we are part of her, so... it will be ok jejeje
 
Ummm...the Amazonians have known about this for a while now.
 
I agree mutha nature needs our help, and sodo we before we extict our own species.
 
Then why didnt them big ol girls tell us about it yo ?
 
This mother of ours ceases to astound me, thanks for the share :)
 
"The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, ’cause that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed. And if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new paradigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn’t share our prejudice toward plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. ” - George Carlin
 
Fungi is a brutal organism; they'll eat up plastic, oil, and even bacteria. Throw some spent uranium rods at them, don't they give a fuck.
 
In 5 billion years there will be a supernova anyways.
 
Such a ray of sunshine arn't we Ronin
 
Don't think our sun is destined for super-nova. But it will run out of hydrogen to burn and start burning helium and expand...turning into a red giant. From what I understand, the circumference of the new sun will go past the orbit of the Earth. So...buh bye.
 
Again, shock that Nature adapts? Really? Get your heads out of the fiction, and start absorbing some fact. Life, by definition, is an adaptable system.
 
Brilliant, and where there is one fungi, there are probably more which can digest other plastics. Let's hope so.
 
Deux Ex Machina, somebody put it there to solve our plastic wasting behavior xD
 
Like I said this planet will end in 5 billion years fom now by supernova of our own sun.
 
So we are purposely " trying " to destroy the planet. Good to know.
But Yes, it is an awesome planet that may someday roll us off with a shrug.
 
The question becomes, what metabolic byproducts are produced upon its consumption of plastic? We don't want to have to face another problem when something else accumulates as a result of its degradation of polyurethane. In addition, we have to be sure these fungi don't cause any illnesses in human beings because needless to say that would be a much bigger disaster than mounting plastic.
 
wow thats amazing and that does not necessarily mean planet earth is just going to be demolished by this plant. maybe it can be stabilized... and way to look at the positive side of things
 
YeP will be distroyed in a supernova in 5 billion years anyways.
 
It'd be cool if we could plant this in landfills.
 
it'll be useless against a landfill site of modern smartphones made of aluminium, glass or carbon-fibre?
 
nice i wanna help the world!!! but that dude has a stupid look on his face!
 
That is really interesting...how did they do it? I am not a science-ey person. Obviousley!
 
So we'll be able to use supermarket bags as mushroom compost?
 
Someone found something that eats plastic? Now that's a fun guy!
 
It must have been living off all that naturally occurring plastic in the environment.
 
Why is everyone some kind of genius when it comes to plastic eating stuff and the environmental habitats?
 
Great news for us. Kudos to Yale University Students & Prof.
 
now we just need to sort it out of all the other waste we dumped on top, and we are sorted so to speak.
 
We don't want people with implants consuming this fungus
 
I hope there tools are not plastic polyurethane
 
It does beg some questions, after reading the full article. 1.) What do these fungi produce as it's waste, more fungi? 2.) Would it survive in the Pacific ocean long enough to be effective? 3.) Can the enzyme be isolated on an industrial scale so we don't introduce yet another alien species into other environments?
 
Old news... It's been known that CD's and DVD's rot in the Amazon. Then, I guess you have to go to amazon.com to replace them?
 
You forgot +Zack Miller , who gets the patents and associated incomes from this discovery, should the enzyme get extracted?
 
@skooter: I'm not worried about who makes money. But more about how industry will use this. I'm not rich and I'm pretty sure the people who researched this have a head start on other companies in the race to do something with this stuff. You might have heard the old saying, "It's easier to get forgiveness than permission." Well now, we tend to give ourselves permission and forgiveness instead of contemplating what the results of our actions might be. Even though this looks on the surface like a great solution, it may do something worse by trying to clean up our ever expanding mess. Here's another quote, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." An example, cocaine was developed as a cure for addiction to morphine. Which is worse.
 
Speaking of adapting, wasn't the first mass extinction on earth due to an abundance of a waste gas in the atmosphere that life eventually adapted to - oxygen?
 
Awesome! I don't know if mother nature can really keep up though. I really doubt it, especially with everything being so, say-"oily."
 
Fungi are nature's industrial factories.. we really should have a lot more mycologists! :)
 
We won't destroy the Earth, just its ability to support human life...
 
wouldn't they just turn them into carbon-dioxide?
 
Plastic eating fungi is scary. Most modern media formats are plastic or on plastic substrate.
 
Sounds great,hope it daz not end in the lab
 
Can this fungi survive in the Ocean? Send it out to the swirl of garbage in the Pacific.
 
+ Tom Hill.... no.. but nature should invent garbage eating sharks.....
 
This reminds me very much of the BBC TV series called Doomwatch in the early 70s, which was repeated a number of years later. The episode in question is called The Plastic Eaters and its story is about a plastic eating virus causes a plane to melt in mid-flight and crash. The series dealt with a scientific government agency led by Doctor Spencer Quist responsible for investigating and combating various ecological and technological dangers.
 
Not sure why people choose to call The Almighty God, Creator of the Universe, "Mother Nature".
Give credit to whom credit is due! :)
 
Dear Mother Nature... please create fungi that eat glue gun ladies, babyboomers, churchies, people who text while walking, and people who forward e-mail forwards without checking them against Snopes.
 
+Lisa Holder, be careful what you ask for. ;-)
If this stuff was let loose, it would eat you out of house and home. And computer. And...
 
I think we must keep our fingers crossed on this topic to see ,how far it will go!
 
I hope it is not only edible but truly tasty!
Qi Gong
 
cool!hope the first reaction we have is appreciation rather than another excuse to keep on destroying our planet
 
I wondered how long it would take to evolve an entire ecosystem dependent on our waste.. Still though, this is a very cool thing.
 
Thank goodness! Time to start decomposing all the nasty plastic landfill. Yay!
 
This is just an excuse for politicians to keep dumping
 
That's intriguing that a fungus will eat plastic, especially since plastic does not occur in nature. Does it eat the organic chemicals in the plastic?
 
... and thus begins the mushroom apocalypse.
 
Katia, microorganisms often develop the ability to eat new materials. The reason we have oil and coal buried in the ground is that, at the time those deposits were formed, no organisms had suitable enzyme systems to eat cellulose. Since then, many species of bacteria and fungi have developed the ability to digest cellulose.

In fact, there are a lot of organic molecules similar to polymers in nature- cellulose, for example, is like a plastic made of sugars. It's just a question of how resistant to attack these materials are. I don't think it's likely any species will evolve that can eat teflon, for example.
Tai Lum
 
wow that is amazing
 
warning!, put it away and hide all plastic related product, or you'll be nake (will superman fly again?), shoeless and no rodenstock, sleep with no matras and pillow? nudist camp everywhere, heaven will come soon.
 
Now if it could degrade polyeurethane back to collecting source components that would be fun.
 
sooo cool i have too tell my teacher lol he would love this
 
Only humans can solve the world's waste problems since it is a human made problem. Plastic-eating fungi is like prescribing insulin to a diabetic who wont stop eating bon bons. It treats the symptom but not the illness.
 
Well, we certainly have enough food to support a whole forest full. Bring 'em on!
 
Recycle, recycle, and recycle. Preserve habitats! Stop bulldozing land for parking lots and shopping malls!
 
that's all great and everything, especially for the bigger cities of emerging countries and all, but the majority of the worlds waste is not on land. the worlds largest waste dump is floating in the middle of the Pacific. it's really awesome that people think they can just fix a problem by discovering/creating a solution. that will just lead people to care less. the real problem is teaching people to create less waste.
 
Pretty cool. Now we need to discover a fungus that excretes beer.
 
+Micheal Smith - No one is saying (except maybe the title of the article I linked to) that this solves everything. But saying that "discovering a solution that will just lead people to care less" is also ignorant of any break through that might help. You can't have your cake and eat it to. Pollution in the ocean is a HUGE issue, no doubt...be we have to start somewhere. Ultimately we will need a shift in cultural thought to truly make a difference.
 
Heaven is in Hawaii. Almost Heaven is in West Virginia. Purgatory is Colorado. Hell is pretty much any stop along the New Jersey Turnpike.
 
Sounds cool. Could come in handy in methane digesters. Less sorting greater decomp.
 
never heard of that plant before!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Eventually all these waste-dependent life forms will take over and all that'll be left will be roaches, rats, and fungi.
 
Yes, the Earth does take care of herself - much more so than many give her credit for. It is a self-correcting system. "Climate change" is part of that self-correcting system.
 
Creating more waste is almost inevitable...creating less waste is the challenge.
 
Am I the only one to see that could be problem if it gets more wide spread? Anaerobic conditions exist inside most pre-packaged items, that's what the plastic is for, to keep the air out. kind of a problem if it eats plastic we're still using.
 
+James Noble the shock is not that nature adapts. The shock is that it adapts fast enough to keep up with us... because it rarely does. 
 
Please help the fungi grow in stable environments because we really need it if we want our children to survive until they are 80
 
Now picture this:
Turn it lose in public water systems and
watch all sewer and water pipes get
eaten up by this micro-organisms.
WTF are you thinkin'
 
Plastic-eating fungi. 
 
May be human-eating fungi will be found some day
 
Sounds good til it mutates then starts eating humans. Then we have a problem...
 
So many answers to the problems of our world are hidden in the living laboratory Amazon. ...until it mutates and starts eating humans. LOL
 
Maybe not. That might prove useful under certain circumstances.
 
I wish I could 1'd thus post a million times
 
That doesn't mean we can generate more plastics
 
I like this
You,,,,are the best principle
 
We aren't killing the Earth. We are killing life on the Earth. Millions of years from now we will be long forgotten and the Earth will have burried its memories of us in its very soul.
 
Well..welll...well., We need to know what fungi byproduct
 
So what happens when someone releases a bunch of this in a supermarket, and it eats all the polyurethane?
 
That's great
There is no such things as waste as every thing can be utilised in some or other way
 
glass too, does not decompose!!! therefor it is a destroyer of the universe/planet. it is also very dangerous because it causes spontaneous bleeding upon contact! xc
 
so what if some radicals get ahold of it and release it on your 'plastic-based computer'? that would really suck for reals..
 
Oyster mushroom eat oil and chemical weapons, I use then to break down my coffee grounds. I was going to try them on my wasted PLA from printing just to see how they did, but I might still try it anyways.
 
Then again, they may find that by moving it, they create a bigger problem. The folks who brought the toads in Australia thought they were solving a problem, Each thing that develops also has natural enemies in that environment that keep it from running out of control. Move it to another place, and that natural enemy is no longer there to keep it in check.
 
That's somewhat a relieve... awesome! :D
 
That sounds grt but it's dosn't mean we polluted our mother nature and leave it for recovering on it's own. Imagine ur mother have pain in her stomach coz u give her polluted water to drink, and u say 2 mom that ur immunity's good u don't need any medical treatment.
This's the same v r doing now a day with our mother nature. My Question are-
1. Is it fair?
2. Why don't we aware about what we doing.
3. When will we realize that we r destroying who nurish all of us.
 
Yea moving it might create bigger problems, let's just dump trash there instead.
 
Haha doesn't mean we can continue to destroy this planet...
 
That fungi would be the death of alot of Hollywood celebrities..lol
 
Evry problem hav a specific solution...........
 
Hmm.. on the other hand what if the spores disperse and the fungi grow everywhere?? It'll eat up all most of our plastic stuff and we'd have to survive with metal!
 
Lets call it immune system of mother nature.it can also improve its self protect .thanks god millions
 
can you put some more picture up of the plastic eating fungi
 
good one dears,,,keep it up lets destroy plastic but, fungus should not destroy us!!!!
 
The earth has had ice ages meteor hits lost of all life two times.not think mankind can hurt earth.
 
Plastic-eating fungi? That's awesome!
 
Amazing, awesome, unbelievabe..... Great news....
 
he is but if you eat the wrong fungi."YALL KEAL OVA!!!
 
This is the discovery of the century,it proves how valuable the rainforsts are.
 
Hopefully this fungus won't it's way to Hollywood or there will be a lot of people eaten.
 
Perfect i swallowed a lego one night if i eat this shroom do you think it will eat the lego in my stomach!?
 
@Cory- I agree. Plastic is eco friendly as 100% recycled, so this fungi will disturb the system.
 
yet again another wonder born of the forests humankind is so rapidly eliminating... I just hope my grandkids can still hear of these kinds of discoveries coming from nature.
 
That's great, let's test it out in Hollywood!
 
Wow..thats really amazing...what will we find next....
 
Woow really amazing the way nature protects itself :) ... thanks for sharing :)
 
The world provided us with every thing e need and especially the rain Forest. Including the USA & all the other so called super Lowes sat back & did NOTHING while our most precious rain forest was & still is being destroyed. Bravo 4 theses great minds
 
Awesome discovery!!!!!!!!!!!
A major problem solved!!!!!!!
 
Yet the Brazilian govt. is about to destroy 400,000 hectares of precious rain forest as we speak.
 
Hope the great business minds do not work out to patent such natural saviors.
what is being claimed in this article is true should be demonstrated in Highly developed(?) urban area.
 
Isn't God's creation awesome.I bet there is more that we mere mortals are yet to discover.God will manifest Himself anywhere!
 
Wait.. If that thing eats plastics and if we don't find a way to control them then the catastrophy is unimaginable. Still believe recycling is a better option.
 
This still doesn't mean you should throw out of your car....
 
The waste problem in the US is overblown. Check out the episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! about it. A landfill 25x25 miles could hold all the country's waste for 1000 years. We have plenty of time to find solutions.
 
Ya I can see the disaster but damn we got to do something about all this waste!
 
It's great,that's a nice idea en te most important research,coz plastics was te dangerous waste products.
 
COLBY MY COUNTRY ALSO SUFFERING FROM THIS PLASTIC PROBLEM SO WE ALSO NEED THIS FUNGI!
 
A very good news for us ,our planet!!!!!! Thank you Colby Brown ! i love this news.Congt..Yale University!!!!!!!
 
It's amazing what wonders our planet still has in store for us. The future is bright.
 
Now if we can just save the rain forest from man.
 
This is cool. Thank you for the post. :)
 
Thank goodness thx students and profs
 
Thank goodness thx students and profs
 
Thank goodness thx students and profs
 
Great News, Hope see them in action in future to save us from our misdeed.
 
It is very great research may the nature can save from polluation of plastics.
 
they're going to need a lotta fungus
 
Most likely you already know this but in case you don't I couldn't resist the temptation of sharing this; "My own view is that this planet is used as a penal colony, lunatic asylum and dumping ground by a superior civilization, to get rid of the undesirable and unfit. I can't prove it, but you can't disprove it either." - Christopher Eric Hitchens, in God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.
 
Great lets just engineer genetically it a bit, let it loose in the world. and it will shoot us back straight to the stone age :)
 
Decompose Plastics, produce oil, and reduce carbon dioxide. We dont have to try leaving the earth anymore
Adam O
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Polyurethane is just 1 type of plastic. It is not in plastic bags or any food container. this will not eat all plastic.
 
I don't know about all that but hey that's kool I must say I do love earth and along with all of earths wonderful gifts.
 
I agree it does look very hopeful but I am not so sure it could make as big a difference as they think but with maybe a bit of tinkering who knows.Very cool thanks for the post.
 
hahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhhahahahahaahahhaahahahahahahahahahahahhaahahahaha
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so amazing untill they start to eat my car and my phone and tablet..........oh dear is there a hole in this plan I wonder?
 
This is an amazing discovery of gigantic proportions 4 all. IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES !!
 
How would they package it though? It eats plastic.
 
Now we have an excuse to not give a f anymore \o/
:(
 
Now, countdown has began to end fungi. B'coz plastic is not in a food chain of animals. How did the plastic reach in rainforest? 
 
Truth is stranger than fiction :)
 
plastic in rainforest does our torture of the planet ever stop!!??
 
I hope they have glass jars to take some home
 
no matter how much technology humans create mother earth will always bowl us ova with a natural purity of genius :-)
 
That is so cool. So what this means is tat we don't have to wait 13 years for plastic to disposes of itself, this can do it faster? But, wait, isn't dangerous, the plant?
 
Ok so do we destroy the Amazon because we are unable to control our wasteful usage of plastic?
 
Terrific find.... until... Someone say, puts it in a landfill, it grows exponentially, and, like kudzu, eats the entire SE United States...
 
MAKE KONY FAMOUS MAKE KONY FAMOUS GOOOO TOOOOO YOUTUBE AND TYPE IN KNOY 2012 AND SEE HOW BAD HE IS AND DOWNLOAD FLYERS AND ON APRIL 20TH AT MIDNIGHT AND HANG THOSE FLYERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
How can you find out, that this Fungi in the Rainforrest can eat Plastic?
Just asking.....
 
so how we can generate those fungi so we can eliminate those plastic waste and solve the problem of global warming?im sure these group of explorers have already found out what they will do!great job!
 
Wow! Mother nature does its evolution to cure herself..! Thanks God!
 
Now when nature has... or we find.. a fungi that eats bad intentions we r on to something
 
I don't think people are really paying attention to the issue of global warming and pollution. Take charge, people! Make your planet a better place!
 
Well, half the people who commwnted must pay attention, but lots more don't care. 
 
Yeah, unless Humans finds another great way to destroy Amazon to make a profit on that Fungi :(
 
I think its a wonderful observation, and worthy of a lot of investigation. I tried to comb through what I could understand of the document, but what I did not see is what is the output of this process? Is fungus going to input 250 million tons of plastic and output 250 million tons of carbon dioxide? Considering the source of plastic is still based on petroleum, another great area to investigate would be plastic alternatives.
 
I don't want that fungi eating my plastic grocery bags!!! I need them to carry my lunch in since I'm too old for a dinosaur lunch box! Wait. Was that out loud?
 
+Michael Barnes, you have a good point. i do think that we should use more plastic alternatives, or at least use less plastic. this fungus, however, as far as i can tell, will help the plastic waste degrade some.
 
good to know mother nature always finds a way to prevent from people destroying the planet permanently.
 
Destroy this planet?!?!? I like Dennis Leary's take on that : "I think the planet created us, just so it could get it's hands on plastic" This planet has seen the likes of us time and time again, and survived; keep digging and you'll see that this is true. We have all been here before....
 
I didn't read all the 300+ comments before mine, but just wanna share what I have watched on TED. The major problem in plastic recycling is the sorting different types of plastic. What if someone has figured out how to solve that problem?

http://youtu.be/RD07GkmM2fc

I want one of those factories in my town!
 
Yea my worry exactly...is this the plastic equivalentof termites ?
 
ill!!!!!!!!!!!!!! fungi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
I wish I were a fungi. Alas I'm just not that great at parties.
 
This is cool stuff. So much out there to be discovered
 
I think the Amazon's trying to tell us something...
 
Don't agree with the mother nature part, but this is exactly why man made global warming is not a concern. Man simply isn't that powerful.
 
Just watch if it does help the world rid itsself of waste it will probably turn into the blob and grow out of control and eat us all. Lol
 
Omg - think of the damage it could do to pamela anderson
 
So, what happens when we start eating this fungus?
 
je trouve cela plutôt rigolo !
à l'époque, on ne se posait pas de questions tordues et on rigolait bien !
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