An unusual strain of Ecuadorian fungi enjoy nothing more than settling down to a meal of polyurethane in an airless landfill. Depending on whether we find a cure for our addiction to plastics, they may prove to be a lifesaver for the planet. A group of students from Yale University made the startling discovery while on a field trip to the jungles of Ecuador. The micro-organisms they discovered are able to break down those plastics which are becoming the bane of the earth. The fungus, called Pestalotiopsis microspora, is the first anyone has found to survive on a steady diet of polyurethane alone and – even more surprising – do this in an anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment that is close to the condition at the bottom of a landfill.