Back in March 2012, I wrote about some scientists who had discovered a fungus in the jungles of Ecuador, a fungus that can eat plastic.
At the time, I applauded the discovery as an exciting possible solution to the HUGE global problem of plastic waste, but I also expressed some lighthearted caution, imagining a scenario worthy of a sci-fi/action/thriller movie, wherein the fungus mutates, escapes, and feasts on all of the plastic we’re still actually using, plastic we depend on for a great many things.
A scenario I never in a million years would have imagined, however, is one I stumbled upon today, wherein an Austrian design firm, LIVIN, has teamed up with scientists at Utrecht University, to move beyond the fungus eating the plastic, and toward a more holistic-if-unappetizing, food-chain-integrated approach:
Introducing, via GOOD.is’ Jed Oelbaum: The Fungi Mutarium
The device uses fungus in little cups made of agar (a seaweed-based jelly) to digest sterilized plastic, which is metabolized into the fungus, leaving no traces of the original waste. But that’s not even the best part: after the plastic is digested, the agar cups and their resultant contents are completely edible. Yes, that’s right, these fungi actually turn plastic into something you can eat.
Well Jed, maybe that’s something YOU could eat, but I ain’t touching it! Ewwwwww!
(Not entirely incidentally, they call the agar cups “FUs”, which had me wondering whether or not this wasn’t just an elaborate hoax, but my further Googling on the subject seems to point to it being legit.)
Now, something Jed Oelbaum doesn’t explain is why the photos he included seem to suggest that the Fungi Mutarium is apparently meant to be operated wearing nothing but a Soviet-grey nightgown…
…and the fungus-plastic fusion food is apparently meant to be eaten wearing nothing at all!
Boggles the mind, doesn’t it?!
But, it gets better, or worse, depending on how you look at it.
The folks at LIVIN have gone so far as to design a line of utensils to be used specifically for the consumption of this product.
And while these guys try to make it sound appetizing…well…ewwww!
Scratch the fungi off the wall of this sensual cutlery and simultaneously mix with the sweet or sour sauce that tops your favorite agar FU.
The shape of the moon spoon glides along your agar FU to reach even the tiniest fungi fruit bodies on it. It can also be loaded with the delicious agar „meat“.
Anyway, to see the Fungi Mutarium in action, check out this brief, Stanley Kubrick-esque video presentation: