Mushrooms Can Break Down 90% of Diaper Materials Within 2 Months

Mario & Luigi would be proud.

Sometimes, discovery is about putting things together in new ways. We know that mushrooms can be great at breaking down pollutants, and we know that disposable diapers are a huge problems, with mountains of the slow-degrading poop-containers filling up landfills… So how about finding a kind of mushroom that feasts on diapers? That’s what researchers at the Metropolitan University in Mexico City have apparently done.

In an article published in Waste Management (the journal, not the company), Alethia Vázquez-Morillas describes her research. Via the Economist:

cultivating the right type of mushroom on soiled nappies can break down 90% of the material they are made of within two months. Within four, they are degraded completely. What is more, she says, despite their unsavoury diet the fungi in question, Pleurotus ostreatus (better known as oyster mushrooms), are safe to eat. To prove the point she has, indeed, eaten them.

Oyster mushrooms are good at this job because they feed on cellulose, the main material used in disposable diapers. In the wild, the Oyster mushrooms grow on dead trees, so they have the enzymes to break down cellulose…

This post was originally posted on Treehugger.


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Growing Mushrooms from Coffee Grounds

Biodegradable Plastic


Photo from Arthur Chapman via flickr
Written by Michael Graham Richard, a Treehugger blogger

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Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra2 years ago

Thank you Lindsay, for Sharing this!

Miguel Angel
Miguel Angel3 years ago

its good to know this, with more research it could be a practical way to take care of diapers, but we may need a special waste disposals just for diapers. once again we need to remember how important is to separate our trash.

Megan Camarena
Megan Camarena4 years ago

This is fantastic! Now are we going to make this work to our advantage?

Maarja L.
Maarja L.4 years ago

This sounds like a wonderful idea.

Lika S.
Lika S.4 years ago

Hmm. Gives new meaning to "oyster" mushrooms...

Jane L.
Jane L.4 years ago

Lemme get this straight: so she's eaten the mushrooms that eat the diapers? ewwwww.....=P

Beclare F.
Clarinda F.4 years ago

Great news! But will the mushroom break down fast enough to keep up with the huge quantity we threw out?

Perhaps, we should consider going back to what our great-great grandmother were using back then... cloth diaper. Nowadays, there are diaper liner, to be used with cloth diaper. They are environmental-friendly and it make washing not as messy and unpleasant.

Tamara Huggins
Tamara Huggins4 years ago

Wow, that is great news! Hopefully implemented soon...

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal4 years ago

From one stool to another....

Judith Corrigan
Judith Corrigan4 years ago

Great news but i don't know about eating the mushrooms after.