Unraveling the Mechanism: How Galleria mellonella Larvae Degrade Synthetic Plastic

Science / Life Sciences

The evolution of safe disposal or degradation methods has not matched the surge in plastic use. Polyethylene, a common component of plastic bags and packaging, is largely resistant to biodegradation. Its inert nature and accumulation pose significant threats to both terrestrial and marine ecosystems. In 2017, it was reported that Galleria mellonella larvae could rapidly degrade polyethylene. Interestingly, this degradation does not seem to be solely due to the larvae’s chewing process. This research, which involves a multidisciplinary approach encompassing Microbiology, Biotechnology, Chemistry, and Physics, seeks to understand the mechanisms behind the plastic degradation by G. mellonella. The key questions are: Is this degradation action initiated by the larvae, their intestinal microorganisms, or both? By unraveling the chemical processes involved in this natural plastic degradation, we can propose new strategies to address the environmental issue of plastic waste.

Amount invested

R$ 100,000.00
  • Topics
  • Galleria mellonella
  • Natural degradation
  • Plastic