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Biodegrading Plastic

A worm may hold the key to break down plastic.

This got her thinking about whether the creatures were simply chewing up the plastic or actually breaking it down chemically. Bertocchini and a team of researchers decided to test it, so they ground some wax worms into a pulp and spread it on the polyethylene plastic.

The plastic still degraded. "So it had to be something chemical that was going on and not a physical breakdown," one of the scientists, Christopher Howe of the University of Cambridge, tells NPR.

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