May 13th 2022

Molds are capable to bind microplastic

Biosorption ̶ a potential strategy to remove microplastic effectively

A world without cheap, lightweight, durable and persistent plastic products seems to be all but impossible for our consumer society. Released plastics, in particular micro- and nanoplastics, which basically arise from the degradation of various-sized plastic debris in terrestrial and marine environments, have become a global environmental threat, posing potential health risk for all organisms, including humans. The removal of these micro- and nanoplastics from ecosystems is difficult but of crucial importance! In this cooperation project, funded by the TWF (“Tiroler Wissenschaftsförderung"), the biosorption potential of molds (hyphal fungi) to remove polyamide particles was investigated in depth. It could be shown that fungi were capable to bind between 59 to 67% of overall polyamide within 24 to 72 hours, revealing a great potential for future applications such as regenerative and sustainable biofilters, e.g. used for communal water treatment. Future studies will proof the biosorption potential of these fungi to bind other common microplastics, such as PET or PE particles.

This project was conducted by the MCI-Department Biotechnology & Food Engineering in cooperation with the Department of Microbiology of theUniversity of Innsbruck. The MCI is partner in the European University alliance Ulysseus, and is responsible for the Innovation Hub “Food, Biotechnology & Circular Economy”.

For further information, please get in touch with:

Andreas Walter
Department Biotechnology & Food Engineering
+43 512 2070 – 3823

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Fungal hypha were found capable to bind the bulk of polyamide particles permanently. © MCI.