View Full Version : Mealworms convert Styrofoam waste into usable soil

09-30-2015, 02:46 PM

Researchers have found a scourge for the 33 million tons of plastic dumped each year in the US: mealworms. A team from Stanford and China's Beihang University found that the beetle larvae stay perfectly healthy eating just Styrofoam, which is normally considered non-biodegradable. Better still, the worms convert the plastic to CO2 and waste that's safe to use as soil for crops. The scientists were as surprised by the discovery as you might be. "There's a possibility of really important research coming out of bizarre places," said Stanford professor Craig Criddle. "This is a shock."

Mealworms don't have some kind of magic digestive system, of course. Earlier research has showed that microorganisms in the stomachs of Indian mealmoths can digest the polyethylene plastic used in garbage bags. The scientists now plan to study such bacteria to see whether they can biodegrade plastics used in automotive components and microbeads that pollute water supplies. The goal is to eventually cut out the middleman ("middleworm"?) and isolate the bioenzymes used by microorganisms to break down the plastics. That could result in new methods of reducing plastic waste that's already in the environment, and new types of bio-plastics that won't accumulate on land or at sea.


10-12-2015, 05:37 AM
I know this thread has some age to it but I do want to express just how awesome this is. Styrofoam is such a disaster for the environment. We use it because it is so resilient to the composing forces of nature. Hence the problem when it becomes trash.

10-12-2015, 02:03 PM
Published on 4 Apr 2014
Inhabitat's Yuka Yoneda shows you how to make an edible water "bottle" using the process of spherification. Our article about the Ooho (http://www.oohowater.com), an innovative new water "bottle" with an edible, zero-waste skin was so popular that we decided to try making our own. For a full list of the steps, head to this link: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/diy-video-ho...

**NOTE** The Ooho is made using sodium alginate and calcium chloride using a formula developed by the designers. Our recipe is an approximation that replaces calcium chloride with calcium lactate, resulting in a membrane that is less tough.

10-12-2015, 02:08 PM

Published on 19 Aug 2015
In this episode of Upgrade, Motherboard dives head first into the R+D world surrounding the development of fungi as a viable replacement for plastic, and the people who hope it can lead to a better and more sustainable future.

10-12-2015, 02:13 PM
Published on 24 Jul 2012
June 2011- On the latest Innovation Trail report for New York NOW, we met a pair of entrepreneurs who are using mushrooms to transform the way people think about waste.

Their company is called Ecovative. They use mushroom roots to create a substitute for plastic packaging.

10-12-2015, 04:01 PM

10-12-2015, 09:32 PM
I'm sorry I brought this onto you thread. My attentions were for good..

Drunken Savior
10-12-2015, 09:34 PM
Now I hate the planet and will only use plastic bags.


10-12-2015, 11:57 PM
Whatever you do dont hold a mealworm between thumb and fore finger, they bite like f@*k.