Ξ

Fungus For Breaking Down Plastics in Marine Pollution?

Fungus For Breaking Down Plastics in Marine Pollution?

A recent breakthrough by researchers at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) and collaborators has uncovered a promising solution to ocean plastic pollution. The marine fungus Parengyodontium album has been found to break down polyethylene (PE) plastic, one of the most common and persistent types of plastic waste in the ocean.

The Fungus and Its Capabilities 

Parengyodontium album resides in thin biofilms on ocean plastic and can degrade PE when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. This discovery adds the fungus to the short list of known plastic-degrading marine fungi, which includes only three other species to date.

Research Findings 

The research, published in Science of the Total Environment, demonstrated that the fungus could degrade PE at a rate of about 0.05% per day. Interestingly, while the fungus breaks down PE, it does not significantly utilize the carbon released; instead, most of it is converted into carbon dioxide, a process similar to human respiration and not considered environmentally harmful.

Role of UV Light 

Crucially, the degradation process by P. album requires prior exposure of the plastic to UV light. This means that the fungus can only degrade plastic that has been floating near the ocean surface where it can be exposed to sunlight. UV light mechanically breaks down the plastic, making it easier for the fungus to further decompose it biologically.

Future Prospects 

While P. album shows promise, it is unlikely to tackle all oceanic plastic due to its reliance on UV exposure. However, researchers are optimistic that other, yet undiscovered, fungi might also contribute to plastic degradation in deeper ocean layers.

Conclusion 

The discovery of Parengyodontium album‘s plastic-degrading capabilities offers a glimmer of hope in the fight against ocean pollution. Continued research is essential to fully understand and harness the potential of marine fungi in mitigating plastic waste in our oceans.

For more details, you can read the full article here.


This breakthrough underscores the importance of exploring natural solutions to environmental challenges. By understanding and utilizing the capabilities of marine fungi, we may find effective ways to reduce the vast amounts of plastic waste that threaten marine ecosystems.

Looking for more ways to make your life a little more sustainable? Join the Charge! Sign up for our E-Newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

By evee Life Contributor

Other Interesting Posts

img

Is EV Charging Cheaper Than Gasoline? We Did the Math and Found a Winner

July 1, 2024

img

Upgrading Our Aging Power Grids–What’s The Plan?

img

EV Fleet Purchases by City Municipalities Surge in 2024

June 3, 2024

green bg
sign up

Our Mission

Eveelife is an eco-oriented lifestyle platform that helps consumers make more purposeful choices about how they live and what they consume. We do it by curating content and products that help them make more conscious, carbon-free choices while amplifying their EV ownership experience.

sign up