Plastic Eating Larvae May Be a Solution for the Future

Will the larvae solve the plastic problem? An unusual project of young scientists

Every year, 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the seas and oceans. According to researchers, in 30 years there will be more of it in the waters than fish. How to stop this ecological catastrophe? The discovery of young scientists from Jastrzębie-Zdrój may help in this.
How to safely dispose of plastic?

Students of the School Complex No. 6 in Jastrzębie-Zdrój investigated the conditions in which the Barciak butterfly larvae utilize plastic. – The project was created in 2019. From an idea that emerged from us while traveling by train from one of the “Explora” science competitions in Gdynia. We found information on the Internet that apparently such larvae of the melon gallery, i.e. the bigger barciak, utilize polyethylene. I thought to myself that since our school has been doing innovative activities and projects for many years, maybe it is worth taking a closer look at it and checking it – said Jerzy Maduzia, teacher, project supervisor on Dzień Dobry TVN.

This is how the idea for the research was born. – (…) The search has begun – maybe take the larvae from some natural environment, and maybe buy it. In the end, we decided to buy these larvae (…) – said Lidia Gajdzik, teacher and project supervisor.

Due to the pandemic, young scientists had to conduct their research at home. – (…) Maybe as well. At that time, we had a lot of time to look after the larvae every day, which (…) we kept in our rooms. Terrariums were placed all over the house – said Adrian Grzonka, co-author of the project, a student of ZS No. 6 in Jastrzębie-Zdrój on Dzień Dobry TVN.

What was the research on plastic utilization by larvae like?

The young scientists used plastic bags for the study. They not only checked whether the larvae could dispose of plastic, but also at what temperature their work would be most efficient. – My research was to find out at what temperature it will be the most efficient. Because, what the higher temperature was, close to those 30 – 24 degrees, as it was in my case, because this is the temperature in the hive, i.e. in their natural environment, the utilization of polyethylene is greater than at lower temperatures, where the larvae live longer because they have a slow life cycle, but this utilization is not that efficient – added Adrian Grzonka, co-author of the project, student of ZS No. 6 in Jastrzębie-Zdrój.

What is and how is the disposal of plastic? – The larvae eat it and utilize it in their bacterial flora, probably, and excrete it in the form of ethylene glycol – explained Paulina Frątczak in Dzień Dobry TVN, co-author of the project, a student of ZS No. 6 in Jastrzębie-Zdrój.

source: Dzien dobry TVN program

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