Plastic-eating mushroom is no new discovery. In the past decade, this immaculate fungi ability – a process known as mycoremediation – has been discovered by various agents in England, India, Switzerland, Ecuador and Pakistan. And most recently, in 2019 by staff at a London-based company that makes insulation panels using mycelium.
It is believed that under certain conditions some strains of fungi can be forced to digest almost anything in order to reproduce and survive. And this includes plastics, which under normal circumstances can take hundreds of years to biodegrade.
This is groundbreaking and very promising for the clean-up of our plastic polluted planet. But it also forces one question: why have these process still not been put into action?
The answer is that these techniques are still very much in the testing stages as, to this day, there are certain limitations that make mycelium difficult to use for the purposes and in volumes that would be required. These include the comparatively slow speed at which the fungi can digest the material which makes industrial scaling hard to achieve. The other is lack of funding- somehow the studies are not attracting enough investors to speed up the process.