Mealworms Could Help Us Get Rid of Plastic Waste

/ 3 years ago

worms eat plastic waste

It’s no big secret that we’re slowly poisoning the earth with the millions of tons of plastic waste that we’re dumping into landfills each year. And even though we have the means to recycle plastic right now, facilities that are actually equipped to do so are hard to come by. Fortunately, a team of researchers over at Stanford made an interesting discovery not too long ago that could help us break down Styrofoam and other types of polystyrene with the help of mealworms. Mealworms are the larvae of the darkling beetle, and it looks like their digestive tracts include several microorganisms that can break down this type of plastic. Moreover, tests have shown that mealworms can survive on an all-plastic diet without too many issues and that their waste can actually be used on crops in complete safety.

The thing is, mealworms are not in any rush to eat plastic as 100 of them only gobble up about 34 to 39 milligrams of polystyrene per day. However, scientists are currently analyzing the bacteria found in the worm’s gut in order to help humanity solve the plastic waste problem in a more direct manner. For now, they will also follow the Styrofoam-munching mealworm’s impact on the food chain in order to make sure that animals who eat it are not affected in any way.

Thank you Treehugger for providing us with this information.


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