Plastic Eating Fungus (Pestalotiopsis Microspora) Living Culture

$75.00 $45.00

10ML Live culture of Pestalotiopsis Microspora fungus. Dispensing needle included.

Out of stock


This is a live culture of Pestalotiopsis Microspora, which is a species of fungi that is capable of surviving entirely from decomposing polyurethane, which is why it was given the nickname, “The Plastic Eating Fungus.” Pestalotiopsis Microspora is in the family Xylariacea, which is known to form fruit bodies, or mushrooms. However, the mushrooms that are produced by this species do not look like typical gilled mushrooms that you would see growing in your yard, or in the woods. The type of fruit body that P. Microspora produces is more like the “Dead Mans Finger” mushroom, Xylaria polymorpha. We are experimenting with the best substrate and environment to produce fruit bodies of this mushroom. So far, wood based compost has shown the best results.

More about Pestalotiopsis Microspora (the plastic eating fungus):

The fungus was discovered in the jungles of Ecuador by Pria Anand, and another undergraduate student, Jonathan Russell, identified a serine hydrolase, the enzyme thought to enable the fungus to digest the polyurethane. Both students are studying in the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale in Connecticut. The fungus is an endophytic microorganism, which means it lives on or inside the tissues of host plants without causing them harm. Several other microorganisms were found that would degrade both solid and liquid polyurethane, but only P. microspora isolates could survive entirely on the plastic under aerobic and anaerobic conditions.

The paper describing the discovery was published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The authors suggest endophytic fungi such as P. microspora could be used to deal naturally with waste products such as polyurethane—a process known as bioremediation. Altogether, they tested 59 plant fungi and identified 18 with a level of polyurethane-degrading activity worthy of further investigation. Four of the six most active plastic digesters were from the genus Pestalotiopsis and all six degraded the plastic faster than Aspergillus niger, the only other microbe so far known to be capable of using polyurethane as a sole source of carbon. Based on molecular investigations, the researchers concluded that P. microspora fungi were able to break down the plastic using a specific enzyme they called polyurethanase. Interestingly, when they isolated this enzyme, they found that it could degrade polyurethane on its own, independently of the fungi.

This is an exciting species, to us, and we are proud to be able to share it with you.