Mexican researchers spot micro-organisms strongly capable of degrading polyurethane

The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) has identified some micro-organisms such as dumpsters as capable of degrading various types of polyurethane.

Polyurethane is widely adopted in making foam mattresses, shoe sole, tennis ball, varnish, etc.

(Soundbite) Herminia Loza-Tavera, UNAM Professor
“Indeed we have about 12 to 15 years of working in this line of research, with the aim of seeking micro-organisms with some incipient ability to degrade plastics, and we have isolated some of them and have isolated them to the best.

The decade-long research, which has been patented, is an important step forward for decreasing polyurethane pollution and environmental protection.

(Soundbite) Herminia Loza-Tavera, UNAM Professor
“We initially worked with bacteria, also with microbial consortia, and recently started working with filamentous fungi, which show a degrading capacity and feed on dead matter.”

The researchers have managed to identify the best strains and the key enzyme which cause degradation effect.

The degrading ratio reaches up to 50 percent, or 20 percent more than those obtained in other laboratories in the world.

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