Did you know? An amateur beekeeper and a group of scientists found that wax worms are capable of eating and breaking down plastic bags. The settings of a wax worm’s stomach can be recreated to safely dispose of plastic bags and bottles.

Ethan Davis Ethan Davis Jun 18, 2020 · 2 mins read
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Plastic pollution is a significant problem in the world today, and it is causing a significant impact on the environment. Worldwide, plastic waste is polluting our oceans and harming marine life, and it also represents a severe threat to the health of our planet, including climate change, contamination of water sources, and other environmental hazards.

An amateur beekeeper named Federica Bertocchini stumbled upon a startling discovery in 2017. She found that her beeswax was infested with waxworms, and as a result, she put them in a plastic bag to dispose of them. However, she soon discovered that the waxworms were chewing the plastic bag, which was surprising. Fascinated by this, she contacted scientists and collaborated with them to investigate how the waxworms were capable of doing this.

The team ran multiple experiments and discovered that the waxworms could break down plastic bags in a matter of hours. This was a breakthrough discovery, as it could provide a solution to the global plastic pollution crisis. The waxworms are the larvae of the wax moth, which is common beeswax pests, and they are usually found wherever beeswax is stored. The researchers found that the worms could digest polyethylene, which is one of the most common plastics used for making packaging materials like plastic bags and bottles.

The researchers found that the waxworms could break down the plastic bags due to the presence of enzymes in their stomachs, which breaks down the materials’ chemical bonds. They then realized that they could recreate the worms’ setting in the lab, and created a solution where the waxworms would be able to break down the plastic bags using an enzyme called Ideonella sakaiensis.

This discovery is significant, as it could provide a solution to the plastic pollution crisis. Plastic bags are a significant source of pollution, and with this discovery, they can be disposed of safely without causing harm to the environment. The scientists are even looking at the possibility of using this solution for larger plastic items like water bottles, which could significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills and oceans.

In conclusion, the discovery that waxworms can break down plastic bags is a vital breakthrough, and it provides hope for the planet’s health. The research findings could be a significant step towards achieving sustainable solutions to the plastic pollution problem. With further research and investment in technology, we could save the planet from the harmful effects of plastic pollution. It is high time we start looking at nature for the answers to our environmental problems, and this discovery is a perfect example of the power of nature in addressing environmental challenges.

Ethan Davis
Written by Ethan Davis
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