Plastic-eating mushrooms are the new superheroes in combating the growing waste crisis

September 26, 2018 by  
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A new study from the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in London says that fungi are capable of expediting the breakdown of plastic waste. The aspergillus tubingensis fungus was featured in the  State of the World’s Fungi 2018 report , which also documented that fungi are optimal in producing sustainable building materials and capable of removing pollutants from soil and wastewater. Whereas plastic generally takes years to degrade, the mushroom, first discovered growing in a Pakistani dump in 2017, could make it possible to break down the pollutants in weeks. The 2018 report is the first release of its kind, marking its debut with the monumental discovery that mushrooms could provide a solution to the growing plastic waste crisis. The global concern has spurred research and innovation in the design and tech industries, but U.K. botanists say that nature might have already provided an answer by arming itself with a biological defense against the plastic plague with which it is overwhelmed. Related: Scientists reveal new technique to make biofuel from mushroom waste Because its properties catalyze the deterioration of plastic molecules, the report announced that aspergillus tubingensis “has potential to be developed into one of the tools desperately needed to address the growing environmental problem of plastic waste .” According to the scientists, the mushroom has the ability to grow directly on the surface of plastics, where it breaks down the chemical bonds between the plastic molecules. Armed with a unique enzyme that is secreted by the sprout, aspergillus tubingensis is one of the most interesting fungi featured in the team’s research paper. The report also confirmed that white rot varieties of fungus like pleurotus ostratus and trametes versicolor have a beneficial effect on soil and wastewater, removing pesticides, dyes and explosive remnants. The trichoderma species has been identified as a stimulant for producing biofuels through its conversion of agricultural waste into ethanol sugars. Fungal mycelium is also notable, especially for designers and architects interested in finding sustainable replacements for polystyrene foam, leather and several building materials. Tom Prescott, senior researcher at Kew Gardens,  told Dezeen , “The State of the World’s Fungi report has been a fascinating look into the fungal kingdom, revealing how little we know and the huge potential for fungi in areas as diverse as biofuels, pharmaceuticals and novel materials.” The State of the World’s Fungi report documents more than 2,000 new species found in 2017, identifying useful characteristics for both natural and industrial purposes as well as citing the obstacles they encounter as a result of climate change . More than 100 scientists from 18 countries collaborated on the study and cataloged the new mushrooms for the Kew Gardens “fungarium,” which houses over 1.25 million dried specimens of fungi from all over the planet. + State of the World’s Fungi 2018   Via Dezeen Image via Pree Bissessur

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Plastic-eating mushrooms are the new superheroes in combating the growing waste crisis

Bridge to Hawaii’s future — lessons from the next generation

June 29, 2018 by  
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Hawaii is pursuing a clean energy future that is fast approaching. Those who will carry the renewable electricity torch are just steps away from assuming the responsibility of leading in this industry. The reach of renewables development in Hawaii is broad — from policy to technology and social equity to fragile island ecologies — and tomorrow’s leaders will have a lot to address. So, what is being done to equip future generations with the tools necessary to seamlessly fold into the face-paced, technology-centric clean energy transformation?

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Bridge to Hawaii’s future — lessons from the next generation

Houston superbug problem has been lurking for years, say researchers

May 18, 2017 by  
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Houston has a superbug problem, and it’s been lurking for years. A particularly virulent strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae , a bacteria that’s resistant to a broad spectrum of antibiotics, has a firm foothold on the Texan city, according to new research published in mBio , an online journal published by the American Society for Microbiology . Using genome sequencing, scientists from the Houston Methodist Research Institute found clone type 307 was responsible for more than one-third of resistant K. pneumoniae infections in their system. “Finding the otherwise uncommon strain in our city was a very surprising discovery,” James M. Musser, senior author of the study and chair of the Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine at the Houston Methodist Research Institute and Houston Methodist Hospital, said in a statement. “Because K. pneumoniae is a common and important cause of human infections, we urgently need to identify potential vaccine targets or other new treatments, and develop new and rapid diagnostic techniques.” K. pneumoniae usually resides in the human intestines, where it doesn’t cause disease. When it migrates to other parts of the body, however, the bacteria can trigger infections such as pneumonia, meningitis, or blood septicity. Related: Student discovers a way to destroy superbug bacteria without antibiotics Musser’s team worked with researchers at Argonne National Laboratory and University of Chicago to analyze the genomes of 1,777 K. pneumoniae strains that caused infections in patients at Houston Methodist between September 2011 and May 2015. Clone type 307 emerged as the most abundant strain. But although the organism has been documented in regions of Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America, the study marks the first time it’s been singled out for causing such a broad number of infections in one city. Why this strain is so common in Houston is still a mystery, Musser said. “The faster we can successfully identify which antibiotics this strain is sensitive to, the faster a treating physician can target the appropriate therapy to these ill patients,” said S. Wesley Long, primary author of the study and associate director of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory at Houston Methodist Hospital. “Our discoveries also give us the tools to begin to understand how the germ is spreading throughout the Houston area.” Earlier this year, an elderly woman in Nevada died from a K. pneumoniae infection after failing to respond to all 26 antibiotics used in the United States. There’s no approved vaccine for the superbug, but scientists are working on it. “Fortunately, the strain 307 identified in our study remains susceptible to certain antibiotics that can be used to successfully treat infected patients,” said Long. + American Society for Microbiology Via CBS News Photos by Unsplash

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Houston superbug problem has been lurking for years, say researchers

Research shows the UK tosses out 1.4 million edible bananas – a day

May 17, 2017 by  
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Grocery stores to food banks to big corporations like Walmart and Hasbro have all taken measures to combat food waste . But there’s still a long way to go in the fight: new research from United Kingdom (UK) supermarket chain Sainsbury’s reveals daily Britons still throw away 1.4 million bananas that could have been consumed. The study found one third of the nation’s inhabitants would throw out a banana even if it just had a minor bruise. UK charity organization WRAP assembled the Sainsbury’s study, and the results weren’t good. One in 10 Brits would discard a piece of the fruit solely for having a bit of green on the skin. Millions of bananas are thrown away every day, even though they could still have been eaten. 61 percent of Britons don’t use discarded bananas in baking , according to Sainsbury’s head of sustainability Paul Crewe, and the grocery store is hoping to do something about that. Related: Stop throwing away banana peels – eat them instead Crewe said they’re creating an in-store area aimed at inspiring Brits to bake with bananas. They’ll launch these new pop-up banana rescue stations in over 500 stores across the nation. At the rescue station people can grab a Sainsbury’s recipe for banana bread, and find the tools they need to bake their own loaf like mixing bowls, baking tins, and blenders. Crewe said, “While we’re pleased with the success of the in-store trial, we’re determined to help shoppers reduce the number of bananas going to waste at home too.” In November the store announced a one million pound, or around $1.29 million, fund for the second phase of their Waste Less, Save More project. The first phase saw a pilot program in the town of Swadlincote, testing waste-saving ideas and technology the company said could save families around 350 pounds, or $452, on food bills each year and could slash the town’s waste by 50 percent. They’ve also taken actions like getting rid of multi-buy promotions in favor of a lower price structure. Via edie.net Images via Pixabay and Pexels

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Research shows the UK tosses out 1.4 million edible bananas – a day

Ecouterre is giving away an eco-beauty kit worth $120

November 21, 2015 by  
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Beauty lovers take note: Ecouterre is giving away an eco-friendly glam kit worth $120 and you don’t want to miss your chance to get your hands on it. Packed full of brands you’ll love like Real Techniques and Eco Tools, plus an Ulta gift card, it includes all the tools you need to have a sustainable, glamorous holiday season. READ MORE >

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Ecouterre is giving away an eco-beauty kit worth $120

Melting glaciers reveal items lost in the Stone Age

January 21, 2015 by  
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Losing mittens and other personal possessions isn’t a modern-day woe: it appears that our Stone Age ancestors misplaced their personal belongings just as often as we do. An archaeological team working in  Oppland County , Norway, has been doing research among the melting glaciers, and discovered hundreds of discarded or lost items now revealed by the receding ice. Read the rest of Melting glaciers reveal items lost in the Stone Age Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: archaeologist , archaeology , arrow , arrow shaft , arrows , Climate Change , glaciers , global warming , Lars Pilo , lost mittens , lost stone age items , melting glaciers , melting glaciers Norway , mittens , Nordic , norway , receding ice , scandinavia , Stone Age , Stone Age artifacts , stone age era , tools , viking , Viking archaeology , Viking era

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Melting glaciers reveal items lost in the Stone Age

Green cleaning: The journey from niche to mainstream

March 7, 2014 by  
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Here's how certifications and other tools have moved green cleaning products onto more store shelves.

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Green cleaning: The journey from niche to mainstream

Sustainability vs. the growth conundrum

March 7, 2014 by  
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Can we truly sustain growth, our population and lifestyle?

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Sustainability vs. the growth conundrum

6 Essential Kitchen Tools for Vegan and Raw Cuisine

September 11, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of 6 Essential Kitchen Tools for Vegan and Raw Cuisine Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cuisine , culinary , DIY , eating healthy , eco kitchen , how-to , kitchen tools , raw food , Sustainable , vegan cooking , vegetarian        

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The Biomimicry Manual: What can the Honeybee Teach Designers About Insulation, Elasticity and Flight?

September 11, 2013 by  
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What exactly is biomimicry ? I think of it as a way of unlocking a whole world of super-powers for humanity. It is literally the next stage of human evolution. Leonardo DaVinci himself said, “Those who are inspired by a model other than Nature, a mistress above all masters, are laboring in vain.” Maybe we’ve been studying the wrong master, trying to make a living on this planet in ways that will ultimately deplete us all. That’s certainly the case with humans and honeybees . Yes, humans love honey, and the busy hum of bees in the garden is a sound that gives us peace on a warm day. But we have much more to learn from them. Find out the lessons they have to teach in today’s entry of The Biomimicry Manual ! Read the rest of The Biomimicry Manual: What can the Honeybee Teach Designers About Insulation, Elasticity and Flight? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: beeswax , bio-assistance , bio-utilization , bioinspiration , biomimicry , biophilia , ClearShade , design in nature , honeybee eye , honeybees , honeycomb , Jay Harman , Learning from nature , Living Machines , Panelite , resilin , storage , The Biomimicry Manual , The Shark’s Paintbrush        

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The Biomimicry Manual: What can the Honeybee Teach Designers About Insulation, Elasticity and Flight?

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