Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Worms to the Rescue!

If there's any member of the animal kingdom that gets no respect, it's the lowly worm. Always underfoot, wriggling in the dirt, fit only to grace the fisherman's hook, the worm lives his short and brutish life without much more notice from us than a disgusted yuck! when he's found in the wrong place ... which tends to be just about anywhere.

But you may want to start treating worms with a bit more respect in the future, because it seems that they ... or one species of them, anyway ... may help save us from ourselves.

I ran across this interesting article the other day: Plastic-Eating Mealworms Could Help Reduce Landfill Waste.

Yes, Dear Readers, it seems that a scientific study* has concluded the lowly mealworm (or, to use his formal name, tenebrio molitor linnaeus) has gut bacteria which can break down and feast on various plastics like styrofoam and other polystyrenes, turning them into carbon dioxide and biodegradable droppings. You can read an abstract and download the full study here if you're so inclined ... and here's a picture of the hungry little heroes feasting on some of the millions of tons of waste plastic that would otherwise be with us for tens of thousands of years, being otherwise not biodegradable ...

Tests are still going on to determine whether the worms will remain healthy in the long term, and whether their ... poop ... is safe enough for use in growing crops, but so far the results appear to be positive.

I don't know about you, but I think this is pretty amazing. Who would have thought that common mealworms might be able to save us from one of our looming environmental disasters? And if we can find such valuable uses for mealworms, what might we be able to do with other worms ... candidates for political office, for instance? Right now, they consume vast amounts of cash and turn it into annoying campaign ads and hot air ... but might they be trained to make themselves useful by eating various waste materials ... like the hundreds of thousands of leftover campaign signs that litter the landscape after every election?

The possibilities are endless.

Have a good day. Treat those worms with respect, why don't you? Someday you might want to vote for one.

More thoughts tomorrow.


* I know this won't mean much to Republicans, but just humor me and read on, anyway.


eViL pOp TaRt said...

I think I'll launch a new expression: Campaign sign eating grin!

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer said...

What a nice thing for a worm to do! I remember that Martin Luther went on a Diet of Worms. He was an early counter- environmentalist, no doubt.

allenwoodhaven said...

I've often thought that what the planet really needs are friendly space aliens who desperately need plastic. If we're no longer a living species, it won't matter if they're friendly. They can just mine for the vast plastic deposits in the oceans and landfills. It will still be there.

I hope these worms can be a solution. Seems more probable than aliens too!