COULD THIS CATERPILLAR HELP SOLVE THE WORLD’S PLASTIC BAG PROBLEM?
A developmental biologist and amateur beekeeper has come up with a new way to get rid of used plastic bags: Make waxworms eat them. The larvae of the greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella), these caterpillars thrive on beeswax. While cleaning out empty hive boxes that were infested with these caterpillars, Federica Bertocchini of the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria in Spain put them in a plastic grocery bag. To her surprise the waxworms quickly ate their way out, leaving the bag riddled with holes. It turns out the caterpillars can break down the bag's polyethylene into ethylene glycol, which can be readily converted into useful substances such as antifreeze, the team reports today in Current Biology. Polyethylene is very hard to break down making the 80 million tons produced a year a big recycling challenge. Only recently have researchers begun to make progress doing so, and this caterpillar may be another solution.
PENNISI, Elizabeth. Adapted from: Science. Could this caterpillar help solve the world’s plastic bag problem? In: Science, 2017. Disponível em: <http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/04/could-caterpillar-help-solve-world-s-plastic-bagproblem.>. Acesso em: 26/06/2017.
(Ime 2018) Choose the correct option.
Caterpillars seem to transform plastic into another substance, so they drew people's attention.
Worms can produce polyethylene out of plastic and make it react with the atmosphere before eating.
Ethylene glycol can be transformed into a substance that worms use later on.
Waxworms produce antifreeze as a result of cleaning empty hive boxes.
Ethylene glycol is important for the worm's warmth maintenance.