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Worms that Eat Plastic

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Wax worms usually feed on beeswax (hence their name) but according to this new study, they're...
Wax worms usually feed on beeswax (hence their name) but according to this new study, they’re not averse to polyethylene either(Credit: César Hernández/CSIC)

Plastic bags are a bane of modern life. As you read this, nearly two million of them are being used around the world right now. By the time the year is over, this number will probably reach a trillion, ending up in landfills, oceans, streams, and the digestive tracts of marine animals. Over the years, scientists have been coming up with various solutions to tackle this problem, from devising ways to give it a second lease of life to making greener and more sustainable plastics. But nature might have a simpler solution: wax worms.

For anyone who keeps bees, wax worms, which are actually the larva of the wax moth, are parasites that feed on beeswax, causing damage to beeswax combs and in some cases, destroying weakened hives entirely. By chance, this led research author and amateur beekeeper Federica Bertocchini of the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria in Spain to stumble upon the caterpillars’ unexpected ability to chew through and actually digest plastic.

They had made short work of the plastic bag she had placed them in, which became riddled with holes after just 40 minutes (that’s about two holes per worm every hour) and turned it into a gaping mess 12 hours later. Given that plastic bags take a notoriously long time to break down, this discovery could have important implications for helping get rid of the polyethylene plastic waste in landfill sites and oceans, say the researchers.

In recent years, scientists have discovered organisms such as bacteria and mealworms that are able to digest PET and Styrofoam respectively. However when it comes to speed, there’s no contest: the wax worms are plastic-eating champs.

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About the Common Constitutionalist

Brent, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a Constitutional Conservative, and advocates for first principles, founders original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy, Martial Arts expert. As well as publisher of the Common Constitutionalist blog, he also is a contributing writer for Political Outcast, Godfather Politics, Minute Men News (Liberty Alliance), Freedom Outpost, the Daily Caller, Vision To America and Free Republic. He also writes an exclusive weekly column for World Net Daily (WND).

One comment on “Worms that Eat Plastic

  1. Pingback: Worms that Eat Plastic – USSA News | The Tea Party's Front Page

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