Getting down and dirty with fungi (and plastic upcycling)
Upcycled PE: let's stay fit with fungi (Photo: PantherMedia/ccaetano)
Scientists and technicians are constantly looking for ways to minimise the impact of plastics on the world around us. Just one small hitch: you'd have to be someone with a masters’ degree in applied chemistry – or just a very, very bright human being – to understand the vocabulary that describes the mechanics of the processes they discover.

Recently, a group of white-coated boffins presented a paper that sets out the findings of a “chemical and biological approach for the rapid conversion of polyethylene into structurally complex and pharmacologically active compounds”. Which translates – we think – into something along the lines of ‘we’ve found a novel way to recycle PE!’. Hurrah!

The end-product: fungal secondary metabolites. Though anything with “fungal” usually has more of a negative connotation, this is pretty cool: the resulting fungal compounds are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anticancer. Interestingly, they’re also antifungal.
03.03.2023 [251732-0]
Published on 03.03.2023

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