Specific Worms Are Able to Break Down Plastic Very Fast

Specific Worms Are Able to Break Down Plastic Very Fast
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Plastic, in general, and plastic bags, in particular, represent a problem that the world is struggling to find out how to solve. Huge piles of waste consisting of plastic are not beneficial for the environment, and one of the reasons is that it contributes to global warming.

But getting rid of plastic might be a lot easier than anybody would have dared to imagine. Nature itself might have already put the solution there for us to grab, only that we weren’t looking in the right direction. 

Trust wax worms to break down polyethylene

Futurism reveals a new article from The Guardian telling us about a potentially revolutionizing discovery made by accident: the saliva of wax worms is able to break down polyethylene rapidly, meaning a material that’s predominantly used in plastic bags. The breakdown can even occur at room temperatures, at neutral pH levels, and in water. 

However, even with the new discovery, the problem of recycling plastic is still far from being solved. Scientists still need to find a way to scale the worms into a viable commercial process, which is pretty unrealistic at this point.

Federica Bertocchini, a co-author of the study and who activates at the Biological Research Centre in Madrid, explained for The Guardian:

My beehives were plagued with wax worms, so I started cleaning them, putting the worms in a plastic bag,

After a while, I noticed lots of holes and we found it wasn’t only chewing, it was [chemical breakdown], so that was the beginning of the story.

Here’s an amazing fact about plastic bags: Every year, Americans use 100 billion of them, and that requires 12 million barrels of oil that need to be manufactured.

You might have already got the point of the article: don’t rely on the wax worms to get rid of your plastic bags just yet!

The new study was published in Nature Communications.

 


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Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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