Plastics are an important aspect of modern living, because they are used to manufacture items that we use every day. This heavy use of plastics means that the end of the product life cycle requires effective management and although we are managing to recycle more every year, researchers are still looking for alternative solutions.
Recently it has been discovered that the flour weevil is capable of living on several types of plastics and that these insects safely break down this material and eliminating waste.
The study shows that these larvae can survive in perfect conditions eating polystyrene foam, which is the usual packaging material, as well as other forms of this synthetic resin, which is used to manufacture numerous objects.
These insects can transform half of the polystyrene consumed into carbon dioxide and the other half into biodegraded fragments through excrement. The insects have bacteria in their digestive systems capable of breaking down plastics.
Subsequent studies will look into at how these bacteria can be extracted and used directly to treat the plastic.