Archived Abstracts

Poster or Presentation Title

Biodegradation of Plastic Waste in Mealworms

Location

Memorial Ballroom, Hall Campus Center

Access Type

Campus Access Only

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Start Date

8-4-2020 12:00 PM

End Date

8-4-2020 1:15 PM

Department

Biology

Abstract

Mealworms (Tenebrio molitor, the larval form of a darkling beetle) are able to digest plastic as well as its toxic additives due to microorganisms surviving within their gut. Previous studies have demonstrated the capability of mealworms to digest polystyrene in the form of Styrofoam. This leads me to hypothesize that the microorganisms found within the gut of mealworms will be able to digest other forms of plastic as well. In this study, I am conducting a series of trials to test the ability of mealworms to consume and survive off of plastic in the forms of polystyrene, polyethylene terephthalate, polypropylene and polyethylene. During this experiment, survival rate and metamorphosis rate are being compared to that of a control group consisting of oats, a common food source for mealworms. Each type of plastic is also being compared to test its ability of being consumed. Throughout this study, mealworms have consumed larger amounts of polystyrene and polypropylene as compared to polyethylene terephthalate and polyethylene. Upon completion of this research, the results of this study will be aimed to aid in the future of plastic recycling.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Jennifer Styrsky

Rights Statement

The right to download or print any portion of this material is granted by the copyright owner only for personal or educational use. The author/creator retains all proprietary rights, including copyright ownership. Any editing, other reproduction or other use of this material by any means requires the express written permission of the copyright owner. Except as provided above, or for any other use that is allowed by fair use (Title 17, §107 U.S.C.), you may not reproduce, republish, post, transmit or distribute any material from this web site in any physical or digital form without the permission of the copyright owner of the material.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 8th, 12:00 PM Apr 8th, 1:15 PM

Biodegradation of Plastic Waste in Mealworms

Memorial Ballroom, Hall Campus Center

Mealworms (Tenebrio molitor, the larval form of a darkling beetle) are able to digest plastic as well as its toxic additives due to microorganisms surviving within their gut. Previous studies have demonstrated the capability of mealworms to digest polystyrene in the form of Styrofoam. This leads me to hypothesize that the microorganisms found within the gut of mealworms will be able to digest other forms of plastic as well. In this study, I am conducting a series of trials to test the ability of mealworms to consume and survive off of plastic in the forms of polystyrene, polyethylene terephthalate, polypropylene and polyethylene. During this experiment, survival rate and metamorphosis rate are being compared to that of a control group consisting of oats, a common food source for mealworms. Each type of plastic is also being compared to test its ability of being consumed. Throughout this study, mealworms have consumed larger amounts of polystyrene and polypropylene as compared to polyethylene terephthalate and polyethylene. Upon completion of this research, the results of this study will be aimed to aid in the future of plastic recycling.