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Insects that can eat and digest plastic

Insects that can eat and digest plastic

  • author, Francis Augustine
  • scroll, BBC Future

At first glance, there is nothing particularly special about these worms.

The larval form of the moth mellonella gallery, Also known as the honeycomb moth or wax moth, it feeds on the wax that bees use to make honeycombs. For beekeepers, they are pests that they try to get rid of quickly, without thinking twice.

But in 2017, molecular biologist Federica Bertuccini, who at the time was researching vertebrate embryonic development at Spain’s National Research Council, found herself faced with an environmentally revolutionary discovery involving these creatures.

Bertuccini, an amateur beekeeper, came across these larvae by chance while cleaning her hive.