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.