What bores holes in styrofoam

Discussion in 'Materials' started by markstrimaran, Jun 19, 2019.

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  1. markstrimaran
    Joined: Dec 2014
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    markstrimaran Senior Member

    Thanks for all the information on meal worms, ants, chickens and how we can save the world from polystyrene.
    I learn some thing new every day.
     
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  2. Blueknarr
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    Blueknarr Senior Member

    A few years ago I removed some waterlogged foam. A half-dozen or more types of bugs inhabited it. A chicken could have dined for days.
     
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  3. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Yeah, I thought it was fascinating as well.
    Quite by coincidence, I found this video on a closely related "grub" eating polystyrene, explaining the process in more detail.

    It even references a scientific paper explaining that it is their gut microorganisms that allow them to allow "mineralization" of the plastic.

    Sci-Hub | Biodegradation and Mineralization of Polystyrene by Plastic-Eating Mealworms: Part 2. Role of Gut Microorganisms. Environmental Science & Technology, 49(20), 12087–12093 | 10.1021/acs.est.5b02663 http://sci-hub.tw/10.1021/acs.est.5b02663

    "We could expect that PS degradation in mealworm guts is analogous to microbial degradation of lignocelluloses in ruminating mammals and wood in termites for the mutual benefits of the metabolism of microbial consortia and host. The gut of the mealworm can be considered an efficient bioreactor. Physicochemical “treatments” (by chewing, ingesting, mixing with gut contents, etc.) together with the activity of enzymes secreted by the worm are also possibly critical for the success of rapid PS degradation in this bioreactor. More research will be conducted to fully understand the synergic actions between worm digestion and microbial metabolism and to better understand the enzymatic systems involved in the biodegradation of PS as well as other plastics, such as PE, which could be helpful in the development of promising remediation approaches for plastic wastes."
     
  4. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    You're getting seriously out of line with a lady who's earned this forum's respect and affection. Perhaps you should consider being a gentleman, instead? If that's more than you can handle, at least try minding your manners in public.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
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  5. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Not so.
    My previous link has a video and a scientific paper that proves otherwise.
     
  6. Dejay
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    Dejay Senior Newbie

    You would expect that eventually microbes evolve to eat all sorts of plastics and the microplastics. After all there is energy stored in them that can be used for food.

    This would even be a great idea for a horror movie!
    It would be like "jaws" just with microbes!
    The opening shot would be of the lamentations of all the sailors in a harbor as their beautiful foam core yachts are being devoured by these microbes that are now rapidly spreading through all the oceans.

    The horror...
     
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  7. JamesG123
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    JamesG123 Senior Member

    Long chain carbon molecules and hydrocarbons are hardly new and invented by man. There have always been microflora that can feed off it in specialized niches. We have only just now become aware of it because we find utility in them for cleaning up our messes.

    And you joke, but its entirely possible that the "great garbage patches" in the ocean gyres and in polluted coastal regions to become "great goo patches" in the future as the abundance of "feedstock" creates a bloom of bacteria that can exploit it.

    How archaically sexist of you. Presuming that "Angel" is actually female, "she" should find your post as offensive as me.
     
  8. Angélique
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    Angélique aka Angel (only by name)

    Yes that's what I did and will do James, inform myself here on the forums and elsewhere on and off-line and IRL, and chat about it here as that's what these forums are about. It's an interesting topic for me as well as I've only once seen ants nesting in the insulation foam of a house, and remembered some info about the mealworms. So I've liked digging up more info about both and other creatures boring into polystyrene foam, and sharing the info where it was asked for.

    In the future many kinds of bugs in all kinds of foam might be become more of a pest as they could specialize on housing in it. And other bugs and grubs might be used to clean up our garbage as they actually break it down while living on it. If this can be developed into a mass process then the massive numbers needed for that might besides clearers turn them also into a pest for all the same stuff that's still in use.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
  9. Angélique
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    Angélique aka Angel (only by name)

    Freshwater ?
     
  10. Angélique
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    Angélique aka Angel (only by name)

    Don't worry James, no offence taken by Troy's gentlemanly behavior, - lady - gentleman - gentlewoman - are common english words (only the latter is a bit archaic and marked as such, but it's not wrong, and he didn't use that word), maybe in your opinion all of those words are archaic, but you should be ashamed of yourself for nitpicking on that, since these forums aren't about adapting someone else to your own linguistic preferences.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
  11. Angélique
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    Angélique aka Angel (only by name)

    Post #18 did contain the scientific paper for me, thanks, but not the mentioned video, are the below what you've meant ? - If not, could you find it back ?


    ‘‘ 2 okt. 2015 - My mealworms chewing through a quarter of a polystyrene foam meat tray! The piece was in there for just 24h. It feels like 30% or more is gone! Hurray for polystyrene biodegradation! Of course the first and best thing to do is to avoid styrofoam and have more cities banning it! The research study on this subject says that the mealworms do fine and their waste is safe for composting: Biodegradation and Mineralization of Polystyrene by Plastic-Eating Mealworms: Part 1. Chemical and Physical Characterization and Isotopic Tests https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.5b02663#/doi/full/10.1021/acs.est.5b02661 ’’ (part 2 of the research study is linked there)

    — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —


    ‘‘ 6 okt. 2015 - Follow up on how my mealworms are doing feeding on Styrofoam after 3 days. The eaten piece is all melted down and a new piece shows the initial size of the styrofoam. ’’
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
  12. Angélique
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    Angélique aka Angel (only by name)

    I see that's part 2 of the research study, so I've looked up part 1...

    ‘‘ Biodegradation and Mineralization of Polystyrene by Plastic-Eating Mealworms: Part 1. Chemical and Physical Characterization and Isotopic Tests ’’

    Part 1: link (abstract)link (abstract)PDF (full paper, no abstract)

    I've also came across part 2 again, but it seems to have some supplementary figures there, as extra to those linked in post #18

    ‘‘ Biodegradation and Mineralization of Polystyrene by Plastic-Eating Mealworms: Part 2. Role of Gut Microorganisms ’’

    Part 2: link* (abstract)PDF (full paper, incl. the supplementary figures, no abstract)

    P.S. - * I now see this link is also provided in the left margin on page 1 of the PDF linked in post #18, as quoted on the top of this post.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
  13. trip the light fandango
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    trip the light fandango Senior Member

    Thanks Angelique, I found your posts both light hearted and informative, I was aware of microbial activity such as algies but not mealworm gut . After all oil is the process of organic matter being stored for extended periods under load,. which most plastics are made of.. phew I hope that doesn't catch anyone's spleen. It makes sense to have a world wide bounty put on all feral plastic....
    Boats should be built to last and restoring old ones is sensible, but yeah the industrial putrescence of fibreglass and foam and paint aren't pretty, yet a boat can develop a character and spirit of its own. ..an entity , I'm studying palliative care at the moment and found a related piece on the benefits of psilocybin in treating fear of death, the article talks of animal vegetable even mineral having spirits ..the ethereal.. ha..interconnectedness-consciousness and stuff .. a good coping strategy for carers-PCA's,...not the psilocybin so much but the ..oh never mind ..ha ,now back to mealworms, styrofoam and chickens.
     
  14. Angélique
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    Angélique aka Angel (only by name)


  15. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Damn. The Mealworms ate my video link

    I'll try again
     
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