WASHINGTON, July 28 (UPI) — Scientists say a fungus may provide a safe, eco-friendly way to dispose of food container plastics, controversial for their content of bisphenol A, or BPA.
Manufacturers annually produce about 2.7 million tons of plastic containing BPA, which studies suggest may cause a range of adverse health effects, an American Chemical Society release said Wednesday.
The search for an environmentally safe way to dispose of waste plastic without releasing its BPA content led researchers to several kinds of fungi, including the white-rot fungus, used commercially on the toughest pollutants.
Pretreating plastics with ultraviolet light and heat allowed the fungus to grow better than on untreated plastic, and the fungi was able to use the BPA as a source of energy as it broke down the plastic.
In a 12-month test, there was almost no decomposition of untreated plastic compared to substantial decomposition of the pretreated plastic with no release of BPA, the ACS said.
Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.