Volume 8, Issue 2      April - June, 2020

Biodegradation of plastic wastes by confused flour beetle Tribolium confusum Jacquelin du Val larvae

Hind Suhail Abdulhay*

Department of Biology, College of Science, University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq


As a consequence of increasing the production of plastics which accumulate substantial quantities of plastic wastes in the natural environment and in landfills that could persist for centuries. The ability of confused flour beetle Tribolium confusum larvae to consume and biodegrade different types of plastics were investigated. The experiment was performed by starving the larvae then exposed to three different types of plastic (polystyrene (PS), polyethylene foam (PE), and ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) as diet in comparison to larvae reared on the conventional diet of wheat flour. The larvae were monitored under controlled conditions then the survival rate, the mass losses for both larvae and plastics resulting from the diet on plastic as a function of time (1, 14, 21 and 30 days) were measured. The results showed that with the increase of time; the averages of larvae survival on all types of plastic were decreased compared with control. The highest larval survival rate was found in the PS diet (70%), while the least was with larvae fed on EVA (30%) after 30 days. Decreasing in the mass weight of the larvae was confirmed during the study, which indicates that plastic materials are not an efficient source of energy for larvae except their survival. The mass loss was 26.2, 31.4 and 45.8 % recorded for larvae fed on PS, PE, and EVA respectively. The study recorded that T. confusum has the ability to degradation plastic, which can reduce the pollution caused by different types of plastic wastes.

Keywords: Tribolium confusum, Biodegradation, Plastic waste, FTIR

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