Plastic Eating Worms Can Help Reduce Pollution!


Nicolas Balarezo:

There is one thing people care about the most but seriously don’t do anything about. Can anyone guess? Yes, Its pollution. The amount of un-recyclable and discarded plastics in the US alone comes close to 30 million tonnes annually. That’s a ton! Recently, researchers from Stanford University found worms that can diet of of Styrofoam and other plastics. These little worms are known as mealworms. This all works through a bacteria in the worm’s gut that biodegrades the plastic as part of its digestive process. This is amazing because nothing else in the world except these worms can biodegrade plastic. That is why there is so much plastic all over the place, especially in our oceans.

In their experiment, 100 mealworms ate between 34 and 39 milligrams of Styrofoam each day, converting about half into carbon dioxide and the other excreting the bulk of the rest as biodegraded droppings. This didn’t affect the worms. They lived a healthy life. The most intriguing part is that the mealworms’ poop can be use as fertile soil to grow plants! These scientists hope to find a sea animal equivalent to the mealworm that can digest the plastic.

Hopefully, this idea wont die out or go to waste like most do. These worms have the extreme potential to get rid of the insane amount of pollution that we have in this planet. The only downside to this is that it seems very inefficient because the worms take a VERY long time to eat just one Styrofoam cup.

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