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CD-eating fungus discovered

A Spanish scientist has discovered a fungus which eats CDs.

Geologist Victor Cardenes says he stumbled across the microscopic creature while visiting Belize.

The discovery came after friends complained that one of their CDs had developed an odd discoloration that left parts of it virtually transparent.

Using an electron microscope, Cardenes and colleagues at the Madrid-based Superior Council for Scientific Research later observed that fungi had burrowed into the CD from the outer edge.

It had then devoured the thin aluminium reflecting layer and some of the data-storing polycarbonate resin.

Cardenes said: "If you look at the CD from the shiny side, in the places where the fungus has been you can see all the way through to the painted surface on the other side.

"It completely destroys the aluminium. It leaves nothing behind."

Biologists at the council concluded that the fungus belonged to a common genus called Geotrichum but had never seen this particular species before.

They add that, fortunately for Europeans, the fungus only survives in the sultry weather conditions that prevail in Belize.

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