By now, nature has already produced some answers to the problem of plastic contamination. One of them is the larvae of the darkling beetle "Tenebrio molior" commonly known as mealworms which can digest polystyrene and convert it into a biologically usable mass.

This was the finding of a study by Stan- ford Univiersity in 2015. The researchers not only found out that mealworms are able to break down the polystyrene molecules with the help of an enzyme in their stomach and use them as food, but also proved that the larvae if only fed on polystyrene continued to live as healthy as others that were fed wheat bran and flour.

Since 2017 Fraunhofer Institute UMSICHT is now investigating the possibility of extracting the enzyme in order to be able to use it specifically in recycling. So far, however, they have not come to any significant conclusion.


Plasticulab is a compact mealworm farm for urban Styrofarmers. In its different layers, it has space for every generation, while giving the farmer the possibility to observe their superheroes and find out how nature helps out cleaning up the mess we made.

Contact me, if you want to build your own farm!