In 2017, certain researchers formulated a study that led to the discovery of the function of the saliva of wax worms in breaking down polyethylene, the most widely used plastic around the world that contributes to environmental problems that affect everything. Although at that time of the year it was still unclear how these tiny insects can break down plastics.
In the study, the researchers recognized two components present in the saliva of wax worms and discovered that at room temperature the saliva could rapidly decompose polyethylene.
This happens due to the enzyme, a chemical present in the saliva that starts biological reactions.
Breakthrough In the Plastic Pollution
It is almost years and years ago when plastics were first introduced. Yet, despite its usefulness, there has been a number of problems that arise in conjunction with its use.
For plastic to deteriorate it goes through a lot of processes that result in harmful effects on the environment. One of the stages is oxidation, wherein oxygen must be combined with the polymer of plastic, for the plastic to deteriorate.
The study revealed that the enzymes present are responsible for the step in a matter of time without the requirement of applying heat or radiation. This discovery is suggesting a potential breakthrough in the worldwide problem of plastic pollution.