let’s face it The latest great series on HBO Max has made us take a liking to mushrooms. However, not everyone is like him. fungus of The Last of Us. There are those capable of offering us gifts as wonderful as beer, wine or bread. Others offered us the antibiotics that have saved so many lives. And now, according to a study just published in Science Advanceswe might have found one capable of becoming biodegradable plastics.
Its about tinder fungus (fomes fomentarius), a parasite of the trees that enters through the cracks in their trunks, causing their rot. As its name indicates, in the past it was used to light a fire. In fact, the famous Ötzi, the 5,000-year-old man found in the ice of the Alps, carried several pieces of this mushroom with him, probably to light bonfires.
But that is not its only utility. Now, a team of scientists from Finland, Germany and the Netherlands, has discovered that it could also be used for the construction of biodegradable plastics, for possessing some qualities that make it a magnificent material. All of this should help us reconcile with the fungus of The Last of Useven with the one that exists in real life.
Why is this not like the fungus of The Last of Us?
The first quality that differentiates F. fomentarius of the fungus of The Last of Us the thing is only parasitizes treeshence It does not harm any type of animal.
But, on the other hand, its curious shape stands out. It must be able to stay intact on the trunks of trees, without succumbing, for example, to the blow from a branch. Therefore, despite being a very light, it is also very strong and resistant. Most materials with this quality have the counterpart of being very heavy, which is why this one is so interesting.
The authors of this study collected samples of the fungus in Finland and analyzed their fruiting body. That is, the largest part that we see emerging from the trunk of the trees. They saw that it was made up of three hats. first one hard outer barkafter a foamy cap and, finally, several piles of hollow tubular structures. These tubes, surrounded by foam, are responsible for being able to withstand such great forces without hardly dislocating. And that makes it a great material.
In search of biodegradable plastic
For years we have been aware of the great problem that plastics pose for the environment. Not only because they can cause health problems for animals that ingest it. Also because take hundreds of years to decomposemeanwhile contaminating the ecosystems in which it is deposited.
Therefore, the ideal is to find materials with similar properties, which can be degraded as organic matter. A mushroom is a great option for this, especially this one. At the moment it will have to study it further. However, the researchers are optimistic and even consider that it could have other purposes, both industrial and in the field of medicine. And all that without turning anyone into a zombie (nor in infected). Not everyone is like the fungus The Last of Ussome make our lives much easier.