"The rapid biodegradation of plastics in the intestine of Tenebrio reveals a new fate of discarded plastic waste in the environment," said Professor Yang Jun of Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Plastics are difficult to degrade naturally in the environment, and polystyrene is one of them. Due to high molecular weight and high stability, it is generally believed that microorganisms cannot degrade polystyrene plastics. In 2015, Prof. Yang Jun of the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Dr. Zhao Wei of Shenzhen Huada Gene Company jointly published two sister research papers on Environmental Science and Technology, an authoritative journal in the field of environmental science, which proved the existence of Tenebrio molitor (breadworm). Larvae can degrade polystyrene, the most difficult to degrade plastic.
The study showed that using Styrofoam as the sole food source, Tenebrio molitor larvae could survive for more than 1 month and eventually develop into adults. The polystyrene they eat is completely degraded and mineralized to CO2 or assimilated into worms. fat. This discovery provides ideas for solving global plastic pollution problems.