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The caterpillar larvae 'plastivores' that consume and metabolize polyethylene

A team of researchers at Brandon University has found that greater wax moth caterpillar larvae are "plastivores" that are able to consume and metabolize polyethylene. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the group describes their study of the caterpillars and what they learned about them and their gut microbiome. Prior research has shown that plastics are becoming a major pollutant. In addition to piling up in landfills, they are also broken down into microplastics, which are polluting the world's oceans. And while there have been some attempts to curb their use, they are still produced and used in abundance in many parts of the world. Thus, scientists have been searching for a way to force such materials to degrade faster—natural degradation takes approximately 100 years. In this new effort, the researchers studied wax moths and their larvae, which are known to invade beehives to eat the honeycombs inside.  Read more.....

 

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