General, Research, Technology

Worms are able to eat plastic waste and clean nature

Every day we use plastic bagsand throw away a lot of plastic products. It pollutes the environment so much that plastic wastes were used by animals as building materials and even used as food. Environmentalists from around the world are trying to come up with an effective way to clean plastic from rubbish in nature and from time to time offer very interesting and unusual options. For example, Canadian scientists believe that the larvae of the so-called large wax moth can effectively destroy plastic waste. It turned out that they, together with their intestinal bacteria, with great appetite eat and digest polyethylene, which on our planet has accumulated a lot.

It looks like a larva of a large wax moth

The discovery of scientists was told in the scientificProceedings of the Royal Society B. The large wax moth larvae, also known as wax worms, actually bring many problems to beekeepers. They actively eat wax honeycombs and destroy part of the honey collected by bees, so people try to fight them. However, in 2017, researchers found that they can be of great environmental benefit by eating polyethylene and producing ethylene glycol dihydric alcohol as a by-product.

Cleaning the planet from plastic

In the course of scientific work, Canadian scientists intentionallyplanted the larvae on a diet consisting entirely of polyethylene. As it turned out, the worms eat plastic waste with great appetite, because during the week 60 individuals ate a plastic fragment of the bag with an area of ​​more than 30 square centimeters. Moreover, in the course of further work, it turned out that the larvae can eat other materials that pollute our planet, but what exactly are they talking about, the researchers have not yet specified.

Large wax moth larvae cause many problems for beekeepers

Great help in digesting polyethyleneintestinal bacteria have larvae. Scientists learned about this when they compared the composition of the intestinal bacteria that were on the “plastic” diet of larvae and individuals that ate the usual beeswax. It turned out that the concentration of intestinal bacteria inside plastic waste lovers was much higher than the rest. This means that for the digestion of polyethylene, intestinal bacteria are simply necessary for the larvae.

See also: How does China deal with plastic waste?

Scientists are even more important in the importance of intestinal bacteriamade sure in the course of another experiment. They selected several larvae and completely deprived them of intestinal bacteria with antibiotics. This group ate plastic waste throughout the year and was difficult to digest. It turns out that between the larvae and intestinal bacteria there is synergy, that is, mutual assistance.

Synergy - This is the enhancing effect of the interaction of two or more factors.

Well, it turns out that mountains of plastic wastecan be destroyed simply by letting the worms get enough of them. Only here is that they have enough strength for this, there are big doubts. Therefore, in the future, scientists are going to come up with a way to strengthen the union of larvae and intestinal bacteria. To do this, it is important for them to find out exactly how the larvae and intestinal bacteria interact, and also under what conditions the bacteria begin to thrive.