CHENNAI, India, Feb. 1 (UPI) — Researchers in India report fungi might provide an eco-friendly way of decomposing polycarbonate plastic waste that contains bisphenol A.
Mukesh Doble and Trishul Artham of the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai, (formerly Madras) said manufacturers produce about 2.7 million tons of plastic containing BPA each year. Polycarbonate is an extremely recalcitrant plastic, used in everything from screwdriver handles to eyeglass lenses, but some studies have suggested BPA may cause a range of adverse health effects. That has sparked the search for an environmentally safe way of disposing of waste plastic to avoid release of BPA.
In the new study, the scientists said they pretreated polycarbonate with ultraviolet light and heat and exposed it to three kinds of fungi. The researchers said the fungi grew better on pretreated plastic, using its BPA and other ingredients as a source of energy and breaking down the plastic.
After 12 months, there was nearly no decomposition of the untreated plastic, compared to substantial decomposition of the pretreated plastic, with no release of BPA.
The study is reported in the journal Biomacromolecules.
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