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These plastic-hungry fungi in China might just be the key to solving the world’s waste

  • Dr. Peter Mortimer, a South African mycologist, has been studying fungi in China’s Yunnan province for nearly 12 years.
  • Last year, he and his team discovered four unrelated species of fungi that digest plastic and latex, a component of natural rubber.
  • Some 6,000 species have reportedly been discovered in Yunnan, but Mortimer believes there are so much more.
  • Mortimer says the newly -discovered species could be the key to solving the planet’s waste problem.
  • Throughout their research, Mortimer’s team has discovered and published at least 1,000 species of fungi.

Some species of fungi in southwest China’s Yunnan Province could help solve the world’s waste problem, according to a scientist who recently discovered them.

Those fungi, Dr. Peter Mortimer said, happen to be voracious eaters of plastic and rubber — materials that account for at least 44% of the world’s waste, as per World Bank data.