These tiny insects are commonly raised for animal feed and are slowly entering the human diet as a more ethical, low-carbon form of protein. They are known to eat almost anything, including plastic!Now scientists have just released research on how these caterpillars are able to do this, and it’s all down to their gut bacteria or microbiome. These findings may now guide efforts to find an effective biodegradation system to tackle plastic waste.
They can consume potentially toxic plastic additives in polystyrene with no ill effects, a new study shows. The worms can then be used as a safe, protein-rich feed supplement.
While hopeful for mealworm-derived solutions to the world’s plastic waste crisis, the researchers caution that lasting answers will only come in the form of biodegradable plastic replacement materials and reduced reliance on single-use products.
Source: Stanfors Edu