Oct 1, 2015 - Animal Research    1 Comment

Making a Meal(worm) out of Plastic

This is pretty amazing! Researchers from Stanford raised mealworms on a diet of styrofoam. And the results?

Each worm ate about a few dozen milligrams every day, converting about half to carbon dioxide and leaving half behind as non-toxic waste.

Assuming there are no ill effects down the road for these worms or predators that eat them, the implication of this styrofoam diet are huge!

According to the EPA, Americans toss out 25,000,000,000 styrofoam cups each year, which do not break down fast or easily — and that’s just cups! But if mealworms are willing and able to lend a helping mouth (or, more accurately, the helpful bacteria in their guts that breaks down plastic), this could be a powerful solution for the world’s plastic waste.

Hungry Mealworms Photo: Yu Yang, Stanford

Hungry Mealworms
Photo: Yu Yang, Stanford

 

Who says worms are slimy and gross?

  • Cathy

    So it’s not ok to experiment on “higher” animals but it is on “lower” ones such as insects and other invertebrates? I wonder, where do you draw the line as to what animal can be used and what can’t be used by way of experimentation? Is it also ok to eat these lower animals?