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Beetle Bacteria Can Break Down Styrofoam

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The top prize at this year’s Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF) went to a 16-year-old from Taiwan who found a bacterium present in mealworm beetles that is capable of decomposing Expanded Polystyrene (EPS).


With the help of two microbiologists, the student, Tseng I-Ching, vivisected more than 500 beetles in her research. The unnamed bacteria is part of the mealworm digestive tract, although her project did not indicate how long it would take for the EPS to be broken down.

 
 

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