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.
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UCL Open: Environment Preprint
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Data availability: The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.