02 Oct '15, 1am

Styrofoam-eating worms can fight plastic waste

Styrofoam-eating worms can fight plastic waste

Plastic waste is piling up in ecosystems around the world, especially oceans. One of the most vexing types is Styrofoam, as well as other polystyrene foams, which are rarely accepted by recycling programs and can take centuries to break down. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 2.5 billion plastic-foam cups are discarded every year. Like other plastic, polystyrene is dangerous to many animals that mistake it for food . But according to new research , at least one animal can safely eat this ubiquitous litter. That animal — the larvae of darkling beetles, better-known as mealworms — is now raising hopes that nature may yet give us a hand cleaning up our mess. PHOTOS TO INSPIRE: 6 animals that recycle in their daily lives Scientists at Stanford University have discovered that mealworms can subsist on a diet of Styrofoam and other polystyrene, which is then biodegraded by microbes...

Full article: http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/recycling/blogs/styrofoam-ea...

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