Fungus Devours CDs

A geologist at the Museum of Natural History in Madrid discovered a fungus that eats compact discs. Is your collection safe?


(At least your online music library is safe - from fungus anyway)

The CDs had been brought back from the central American state of Belize. Although the fungus belongs to a common family (Geotrichum) found all over the world, it was displaying properties that no one had previously observed. The fungus had attacked the outer edge of the disk, consuming plastic and aluminum alike.

Geotrichum is commonly found in dairy products, but less commonly in soil, which might explain why CDs in landfills have not been seen degrading from this fungus. The fact that there is a natural agent that will decompose and reuse the materials in CDs is good news for recyclers.


(Science fiction fans worry about lifeforms that engulf and devour...)

Is your CD collection in danger? It appears unlikely that this fungus could develop on a CD without both high temperatures and high humidity. Similar reports have been surfacing from Panama, Costa Rica and Guatemala however; citizens in these climates might take appropriate precautions.

Read more at BBC News.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/22/2006)

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