Plastic-Eating Moth Offers Hope in Fight against Pollution
Scientists at the Brandon University in Manitoba have found a caterpillar that eats plastic. It was reported in Discover Magazine that researchers have discovered a caterpillar (greater wax moth) which loves to eat plastic. This discovery has offered fresh hopes in fighting the plastic pollution crisis in the world.
Nature is providing us with a great starting point to model how to effectively biodegrade plastic. But we still have a few more puzzles to solve before using this technology, so it’s probably best to keep reducing plastic waste while this gets figured out.Christophe LeMoine, Biologist at Brandon University in Manitoba.
The research team at the Brandon University studied on how the caterpillar larvae and the microorganisms in their guts broke down the plastic. In order to understand this metabolism process, the scientists took the bacteria from the waxworms’ gut and grew it on their own in the lab. During this process they found out that one particular species of bacteria could survive on plastic for a year.
According to the researchers these caterpillars are used to eating honeycomb wax which is made up of very long chains of carbon and hydrogen molecules called hydrocarbons. The same is also responsible for making up plastics.