Plastic-eating mealworms can safely digest styrofoam

A recently emerging cycling bit of information inspired us to set up an experiment. An information which, in the environmental sciences at least, is viewed as real breakthrough.

Core element in this groundbreaking news are mealworms, more precise their capacity to digest styrofoam. Researchers have found that the mealworm can indeed live on a diet of Styrofoam and other types of polystyrene, digest them and produce humus. Headlines like “Mealworms could help to reduce landfill waste”  circulated in all sorts of news-channels. Even the Permaculture Research Institute published an article about them.

As we are in the middle of developing a near-future scenario (as part of Changing Weathers) addressing, amongst other subjects, oceanology and water pollution, we pricked up our ears about those little fellows and their impressive talent.

Which role exactly they are going to play in the scenario is still to be defined – that they will have one, a role, seems given – too convincing is their appetite. In only a few days they have been eating up quite a bit of the cake-slice shaped styrofoam offered, creating an interestingly textured slice.


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