Cigarette butts are one of the most littered objects in the world with estimates of 4.5 billion cigarette butts weighing in at 1.7 billion pounds are being thrown into the environment and into landfills every single year.
The toxins that leech from cigarette butts include pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and rodenticides. Additionally, over 4000 chemicals may also be introduced to the environment via cigarette particulate matter (tar) and mainstream smoke, over 50 of which are known to be carcinogenic to humans.
Also heavy metals such as Al (aluminum), Ba (Barium), Cr (Chromium), Cu (Copper) , Fe (iron) , Pb (lead) , Mn (manganese), Ni (nickel), Sr (Strontium), Ti (Titanium) and Zn (Zinc) seep out of cigarette butts and become toxic to fish and microorganisms
I conducted research on the mycoremediation of cigarette butt lecate and particularly the 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that are on the EPA’s priority pollutant list: These PAHs are naphthalene, acenaphthene, acenaphthylene, phenanthrene, fluorene, anthracene, benz[a]anthracene, chrysene, pyrene, fluoranthène, benzo[b]fluoranthene, benzo[k]fluoranthene, benzo[a]pyrene, indeno[a,2,3-cd]pyrene, benzo[ghi]perylene, dibenz[a,h]anthracene.
After growing this mycelium on the cigarette butts for over seven months I harvested spores from the fruit body which contain new genetics more adaptable to toxic environments