In the latest search for small living organisms that consume trash, a group of scientists from the University of Queensland in Australia has found that ‘superworms’ – Zophobas morio – can digest plastic foam. Further study of the worm’s enzyme and how it breaks down plastic foam could potentially help mitigate the plastic pollution crisis. Not only does single-use plastic clog up landfills and emit greenhouse gasses, more than 14 million tons get into the water each year, destroying aquatic life and habitats. While some are hopeful about the application of the superworm enzyme and other biological solutions to the recycling industry, others express concerns over the cost and viability of these biologically-based solutions under large-scale, industrial conditions. Despite numerous challenges, many researchers are working around the world looking for ways to biodegrade plastic wastes on a large scale.

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