Eloise Deconinck wanted to discover a sustainable method of breaking down polyethylene plastic waste so she turned to fungi. Building on her prior research, she collected plastic samples from commercial compost sites, and found that micro-organisms growing on the plastic contributed to the degradation. Through testing these organisms she found that a fungus common throughout Tasmania, Penicillium Brevicompactum, degrades polyethylene and hopes this discovery could lessen the environmental impact created by the 300 million tonnes of polyethylene waste polluting the world annually.
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