30 Sep '15, 6pm

Mealworms can eat an all-plastic diet and not die

We all know that plastic degrades super slowly, which is why it’s such a big problem that we’re dumping millions of tons of it into landfills every year—not to mention all the stuff that just ends up as litter or floating in the ocean . But researchers at Stanford found a way to speed up the process of breaking down Styrofoam and other types of polystyrene, with help from mealworms. It turns out, these worms can not only digest polystyrene, but can actually subsist on a diet exclusively made up of it. Wei-Min Wu, a senior research engineer at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering found that mealworms, which are the larvae of the darkling beetle, have microorganisms in their digestive tracts that allow them to break down the plastic. I know you’re probably thinking: but how toxic is the resulting worm waste? Well, according to Wu, the waste is safe to use as...

Full article: http://www.treehugger.com/animals/mealworms-can-eat-all-p...

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Styrofoam-eating worms can fight plastic waste

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