There are some plastic-eater trees. Actually, these are poplar trees which, through their roots, are able to absorb some plastic pollutants, cleaning the environment. This discovery comes from a research led by Francesca Vannucchi from the Institute of Life Sciences, School of Advanced Studies Sant’Anna in Pisa. 

Researchers have discovered that a particular poplar, the Alba Villafranca Populus, a white female poplar with oval or roundish leaves, is able to absorb the phthalates and destroy them from the inside. This type of poplar usually grows in the plain and along the coasts, as it is very resistant to salt. This is reflected in its ability to destroy plastics, as it can tolerate pollutants.

What are the phthalates that the plastic-eater trees extract?

These are micro-pollutants harmful to human health and environment. They are mainly used in PVC, to make it more flexible and malleable, but also in other plastics or in perfumes, paints and pesticides.

This poplar seems to be able to absorb, dispose of and degrade phthalates in much greater quantities than other tree species. All this, without causing damage to the plant which could then, after other studies to understand how the process takes place, be used to reduce the phthalates dispersed in the environment.


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