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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

These tiny creatures will become the World's environmental heroes

Research conducted by Wei-Min Wu of Stanford University revealed that mealworm has the ability to break down starch-based plastic polystyrene. The research results were published in two papers in the journal Environmental Science and Technology has the potential to solve the problem of plastic waste globally.

Min Wu conducted two series of studies. In the first study, he and his team provide 34-39 milligrams of styrofoam to 100 mealworms. Styrofoam also includes plastics composed of polystyrene material. The styrofoam dose for mealworms can be compared with a dose of one pill for humans.
Mealworms eating styrofoam. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/1FKn5i3)
The mealworms able to transform styrofoam into carbon dioxide and beads of material that can be described. When performing medical tests, Min Wu learned that the mealworms eat styrofoam as healthy with mealworms that eat grains.

In the second study, Min Wu use of microbes in the digestive tract of mealworms. Microbes that make mealworms can decipher styrofoam. In the experiment, microbial asked to elaborate on polystyrene. Although slower decay rate, the microbes can still do it.

Craig Riddle from Stanford University who became supervisor in the study said that the results of this research are very interesting. "Sometimes science surprise us. This was a surprise," he said as quoted by Popular Science website on Friday, October 1, 2015.

Min Wu said, "Our findings open the door to solve the problem of global plastics." Looking ahead, he will try to identify microbes that can break down Styrofoam, and try to find organisms some kind of mealworms in the sea. Thus, the problem of plastic that accumulates in the oceans can be overcome. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | POPULAR SCIENCE]
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