Photograph: WormUp, via The Guardian.
Photograph: WormUp, via The Guardian.

The lowly worm is responsible for some good news. Recent Stanford research shows that worms can eat small quantities of styrofoam.

Mealworms are able to live on a diet of styrofoam without any health implications, researchers found. Microorganisms in their gut break down the plastic foam into carbon dioxide and excreted pellets (resembling rabbit droppings), which can potentially be reused as soil for crops.

The discovery is being hailed as a breakthrough for managing plastic foam waste, which is hard to recycle. But there is a catch. The study found that 100 worms munched through about 37-39 milligrams a day – about the weight of a small pill. A huge number of worms would need to be mobilised if they are to provide a viable solution to plastic pollution.

Aside from plastic-eating, the humble worm is already playing an important role when it comes to waste.

Read the rest on The Guardian.

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