Bunbury residents explains that mouldy food is good for science

Column: waste not such a bad thing

Penicillin was discovered by accident by Alexander Fleming in 1928. What's so exciting is that I, too, am a penicillin breeder! In fact, I've probably grown world-first antibiotics in my homely laboratory. My scientific lab is concentrated in the fruit and vegetable section in my fridge. For years my husband has told me how proud he is of my collection.

"Look, I'm sure this is a new strain!' he says, carefully prodding the growing mass. It used to be a green capsicum. Now it stands proud, totally transformed. Perhaps it's the secret mixture of the dripping tomato sauce with the neighbouring decayed spinach that did it.

Hubby can't resist giving it another prod. Little puffs of grey lift into the air. Actually, they're genetically modified spores which, in time, will become the new treatment for the Super Bug onslaught.

I want to encourage other women (or men) in the Bunbury region: don't despair when discovering batches of expired products in the fridge. It's all for our own good. Let half-filled cans of peas ferment. Be glad on finding the forgotten leftover lasagne at the back of the fridge. The mouldier, the better. The growing tentacles of bright orange and green make for a winning combination. Globally, universities and researchers will welcome us.

"What have we here?" a professor of microbiology may ask. Those involved in DNA modification will be overwhelmed by our presentation of last years' chicken wings. They'll fight for samples and we'll be offered compensation for our time and effort

I know women who colour code their Tupperware so as not to waste food. The blue containers in the fridge are two days from expiry and these women ensure that all food is eaten on time. They are predictable and frugal.

Fortunately, there are others who enthusiastically support science. I actually encourage a dribble of orange juice onto the lettuce. The sogginess yields a magnificent crop of fungi.

Some people say I waste. It depends on how you look at it. I get a warm feeling when I think of how many people may be saved by my mouldy ham sandwich which has been converted into new medicine.

I have made meaning of my mess. And who knows what lurks beneath and behind my fridge? Just possibly another medical breakthrough.