• News
  • Research

Wax worm may answer problem of plastic waste

Wax worm may answer problem of plastic waste

Spanish researchers have discovered that the wax worm, a caterpillar known for munching on the wax within beehives, is able to devour and biodegrade polyethylene plastic, converting it into a form of alcohol found in antifreeze.

The promising discovery centres on the wax worm - the name for the caterpillar larva of Galleria mellonella, or greater wax moth.

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.

In a study carried out in collaboration with the University of Cambridge, around 100 wax worms were exposed to a bag from a United Kingdom supermarket.

The larva of a common insect can break down the chemical bonds in a plastic bag, when it's not busy eating beeswax, so it could give scientists an answer to the vast plastic buildup that threatens the environment. Every year, we produce almost 300 million tons of plastic that ends up polluting every part of the world.

Polyethylene is increasingly used in packaging, and accounts for 40% of total demand for plastic products all over Europe, where up to 38% of plastic is discarded in landfills.

Nature may have stumbled upon an answer to our plastic problem, but we still need to figure out how these creatures do it if we're to ramp their biological processes up to an industrial scale.

Subsequently they conducted a separate timed trial and concluded that the worms, bred commercially for fishing bait, were able to eat through plastic at a rate nearly ten times that of other bacteria previously tested.




Continuing, Dr. Bertocchini, a beekeeper, said that wax "has a chemical structure not dissimilar to polyethylene". A lot of animals eat plastics, as we all have sadly come to know. One amateur apiarist and scientist happened to notice one day that a bunch of waxworms she'd put in a plastic bag - to keep them from re-infesting one of her hives - had chewed through the thin walls of their plastic prison.

Polyethylene, often falsely called a "natural plastic", is one of the most degradation-resistant plastics.

Scientists from the University of Cambridge and Spain say the discovery could lead to a biotechnological approach to polyethylene waste that chokes oceans and landfills.

Cambridge University researchers have discovered that a caterpillar can eat plastic.

Yes, a plastic-eating caterpillar may help save the world and here's how... And thus began her study into these fascinating worms - the results of which are published in Current Biology.

Turns out there is a type of plastic that can be easily biodegraded. The analysis showed the worms transformed the polyethylene into ethylene glycol, representing un-bonded "monomer" molecules.

"The caterpillar produces something that breaks the chemical bond, perhaps in its salivary glands or a symbiotic bacteria in its gut", Bertocchini said. Dr. Bertocchini said that finding out how to manage plastic waste should not provide humans with an excuse, or justification, "to dump polyethylene deliberately in our environment".

Leave Your Comment

Leave Your Comment


Latest News

  • Alex Jones sued by Greek yogurt giant Chobani

    Alex Jones sued by Greek yogurt giant Chobani

    The video is titled: "[Mainstream Media] Covers for Globalist's Refugee Import Program After Child Rape Case". The fake news stories led to a customer boycott call against Chobani products, the suit says.
    UK prime minister defends decision to seek snap election

    UK prime minister defends decision to seek snap election

    Theresa May said that Jeremy Corbyn was not fit to lead , but faced criticism over her refusal to take part in TV debates. May called a snap general election for June 8 in what was a shock and unexpected announcement on Tuesday.
    Regulators sue Ocwen Financial, say it mishandled mortgages

    Regulators sue Ocwen Financial, say it mishandled mortgages

    Company's distance from 20 day simple moving average is -52.65% and distance from 50-Day simple moving average is -50.80%. TRADEMARK VIOLATION WARNING: This piece of content was first posted by The Cerbat Gem and is owned by of The Cerbat Gem.
  • Federal Judge blocks Trump's crackdown on sanctuary cities

    The Justice Department threatened last week to cut some funding to California as well as eight cities and counties across the United States.
    Tennessee teacher planned to take 15-year-old girl to Mexico

    Tennessee teacher planned to take 15-year-old girl to Mexico

    He is awaiting extradition to Tennessee, where he will be charged with sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping. Channel 4 has learned Tad Cummins is on his way to Sacramento, CA, which is where he will be arraigned on Monday.

    Samsung heads for best quarterly profit in over 3 yrs, up 48%

    Sales of its new G6 flagship smartphone began in March and will not provide meaningful contributions until the second quarter . Revenue rose 0.4 per cent to 50 trillion won, just ahead of analysts' forecasts.
  • Reliance Jio vs BSNL vs Airtel vs Vodafone vs Idea

    Reliance Jio vs BSNL vs Airtel vs Vodafone vs Idea

    But this leaves consumers confused about which telecom operator offers the best plan both in terms of bundled data and price. Under this offer, users can recharge for Rs 309 to get 1GB 4G data daily and Rs 509 plan which offers 2GB 4G data daily.

    BC premier promises to fight US-imposed softwood lumber tariffs

    Lumber Coalition, which represents the industry, said the duties will likely take effect starting sometime next week. The move came after there was no breakthrough in United States talks on Canadian dairy tariffs.

    Canada commemorates centenary of pivotal Vimy WWI battle

    The centre of the poppy is formed by a newly-unveiled sculpture of pairs of soldiers' feet by New Zealand artist Helen Pollock. But the victory came at enormous human cost - by April 12, 3,598 Canadians had been killed and a further 7,000 injured.
  • US is about actions at the UN: Nikki Haley

    US is about actions at the UN: Nikki Haley

    North Korea is a big world problem, and it's a problem we have to finally solve. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who holds the council's rotating presidency this month.
    Trump says US-Russia relations

    Trump says US-Russia relations "may be at an all-time low"

    It was stark evidence that the president is moving ever further from his campaign promises to establish better ties with Moscow. The civil war is separate from the USA -led effort against the Islamic State group in the north of the country.
    Patriots kickoff season September  7 against Chiefs

    Patriots kickoff season September 7 against Chiefs

    The Patriots' regular Thursday night game will take one week later place against another NFC South team: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both teams will have a bye the week after, which is nice, but the Rams will play a road game at Jacksonville the week before.
  • Ipic and 1MDB settle dispute

    Ipic and 1MDB settle dispute

    However, in June 2016, IPIC announced that 1MDB had failed to perform its contractual obligations and fled for arbitration. However, 1MDB and Arul Kanda ( photo ) continued to insist that it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the IPIC group.

    Russian Federation denies think tank plotted to sway U.S. presidential election

    Seven U.S. officials told Reuters that they obtained two confidential documents from the Putin-controlled think tank. This plan was circulated among the highest levels of the Russian government, Reuters reported Thursday.

    Diet drinks liked to stroke and dementia

    Those who drank at least one diet soda a day had smaller brain volume, according to an article by Boston University . Those in the stroke arm of the study were over the age of 45, while those in the dementia arm were over 60.
  • Erik Jones makes it 2 straight this season with Xfinity win

    Erik Jones makes it 2 straight this season with Xfinity win

    Still looking for his first win this season, Joey Logano has to be happy to head to Bristol this weekend. Erik Jones has back-to-back Xfinity Series victories after a win Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway .
    Apple Watch NikeLab limited edition tones down the color

    Apple Watch NikeLab limited edition tones down the color

    Seven months after the launch of the first Apple Watch Nike +, Nike has launched a new variant called the Apple Watch NikeLab . We can have our personal schedule and progress with the guidance of coaches and athletes.Apple watch store is in Tokyo.
    Terrorists Celebrating US Strikes In Syria, Says Hassan Rouhani

    Terrorists Celebrating US Strikes In Syria, Says Hassan Rouhani

    McMaster also made clear that Trump wants a world-wide response to Assad's action that would include Russian Federation and Iran. He has shown callous disregard for the lives of innocent civilians over the six years of the Syrian conflict.

Breaking News



Recommended

Phaneuf scores in OT as Senators tie series against Bruins

Brassard won 18 of 24 faceoffs (75 percent), including 11 of 15 (73 percent) against Bergeron, a three-time Selke Trophy victor . SIDNEY CROSBY and the defending champion Penguins have looked impressive in jumping out to a 2-0 lead against the Blue Jackets .

Tesla plans 14 supercharger stations in S. Korea this year

Tesla has updated its plans to expand its Supercharger and related public charging infrastructure in anticipation of its Model 3. It has built more than 9,000 low-speed charging stations at hotels, resort towns and restaurants across the world.

Happy St George's Day! But should it be a bank holiday?

Mr Green said: "I think people feel some of the big energy companies have taken advantage of them with the tariffs they've got". Jeremy Corbyn spoke at a festival today to mark 40 years since National Front members marched through Wood Green, London .

North Korea video portrays United States destroyed in missile barrage

Asked by a reporter what message he had for North Korea's young leader Kim Jong-Un on Monday, Trump replied "Gotta behave". Last month, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that pre-emptive military action was "on the table".

North Korea Rolls Out Missiles During Founder's Birthday Celebrations

US officials say the Trump administration's emphasis will be on increasing pressure on Pyongyang with the help of China. Choe Ryong Hae, a close aide to Kim, addressed the packed square and reiterated the warning to the United States.

Pakistan court: Insufficient evidence to remove Sharif

Prime Minister Sharif's governement was sacked by then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan for alleged corruption in April, 1993. Sharif's party would have remained in power even if the verdict had ordered for the removal of the prime minister.

Stoke duo Allen, Whelan set to return for Swansea trip

Everyone knows that they put in a good shift physically, and played well tactically and technically. If the gap had gone to five points with four to play the task would have been very hard .

Car dragged along highway after collision with tractor-trailer

The witness filming the incident sped ahead of the conjoined vehicles and eventually confronted the truck driver after four miles. Steimke said the man was dragged along the freeway in his vehicle for at least four miles.

National Security Obtained FISA Warrant To Monitor Former Trump Adviser Carter Page

The government has not formally charged Page with any wrongdoing, and it is unclear if the Justice Department plans to do so. The accusations of collusion between Page and Russian Federation have been denied publically many times .

Part I: Thinking through the North Korea crisis

North and South Korea are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. China is a close ally of North Korea and accounts for 80 per cent of the latter's foreign trade.