+1 Recommend
    • Review: found
    Is Open Access

    Review of 'Plastic agriculture using worms: Augmenting polystyrene consumption and using frass for plant growth towards a zero-waste circular economy.'

    Plastic agriculture using worms: Augmenting polystyrene consumption and using frass for plant growth towards a zero-waste circular economy.Crossref
    Unfortunately the revised version does not address the points raised in the original reviews
    Average rating:
        Rated 2 of 5.
    Level of importance:
        Rated 2 of 5.
    Level of validity:
        Rated 2 of 5.
    Level of completeness:
        Rated 2 of 5.
    Level of comprehensibility:
        Rated 2 of 5.
    Competing interests:

    Reviewed article

    • Record: found
    • Abstract: found
    • Article: found
    Is Open Access

    Plastic agriculture using worms: Augmenting polystyrene consumption and using frass for plant growth towards a zero-waste circular economy.

    Polystyrene (PS) is one of the major plastics contributing to environmental pollution with its durability and resistance to biodegradation. Recent research has found mealworms ( Tenebrio molitor ) and superworms ( Zophobas morio ) to be able to utilize PS as a carbon food source and degrade them without toxic effects. In this study, the effects of food additives on plastic consumption augmentation were studied, with small additions of sucrose and bran found to increase PS consumption. To close the plastic carbon cycle, we also evaluated the use of worm frass for dragon fruit cacti ( Hylocereus undatus ) growth and found that superworm frass supported rooting and growth better than mealworm frass and control media over a fortnight. Superworms, apart from being known fish and poultry feed, have been shown to be a suitable natural solution to the PS plastic problem that can support plant growth towards a zero-waste sustainable bioremediation cycle.

      Review information

      This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at www.scienceopen.com.

      Entomology,General environmental science,Life sciences
      Circular economy,Environmental science,Biodegradation, Mealworm, Superworm, Frass, Polystyrene, rooting, agricultural support, waste management ,Waste
      ScienceOpen disciplines:

      Review text

      This was a potentially important and interesting article addressing possible wasy of dealing with an intractable waste product.

      Two very detailed reviews were provided for the original preprint. These reviews were consistent with one another. They raised a large number of points that needed to be addressed. These detailed methodological, observational and analytical issues (both in terms of both GCMS analysis of materials and the statistics).

      The authors have not been able to address all the points raised in a manner that impoves the paper

      In addition, there are parts of the text of the version 2 preprint (for example around line 185) that are not consistent with the data shown in the figure to which the text refers.

      This means this draft paper cannot go forward to full publication and may well be rejected as there remains a lot of its content to revise.


      One review was more favorable, and the other was far less, albeit with fair queries.

      There was somehow some confusion that degradation and consumption are different and separate things when it is known that PS does not disappear by itself and any PS weight loss is essentially consumption by worms, thus testing for PS presence in the frass demonstrates both consumption and degradation.  Perhaps we were not able to reflect this properly. On the point around line 185 and figure, there is a reversion of the words mealworms and superworms, but otherwise, it is consistent the sugar had effect on both, but bran only for mealworms. 

       Unfortunately despite showing requested  raw data and responding that we had only access to GC-MS and could not access to the high-end equipment for detailed chemical analysis and pointing to the previous literature to address queries on how the worms ate the PS (which were already done by numerous groups), the responses were still deemed insufficient. Bit of a downer waiting almost 8 months to get a negative outcome.  

      2021-02-05 14:01 UTC
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