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Thu 23rd of November 2017


IAS EXPRESS - Free Download

Worms versus plastic

The researchers found a caterpillar commercially bred for fishing bait has the ability to biodegrade polyethylene, one of the toughest and most used plastics, frequently found clogging landfill sites in the form of shopping bags.

  • The scientists have observed that the degradation rate of the wax worm is extremely fast when compared to other recent discoveries.
  • Last year, a bacteria was found to biodegrade plastics at a rate of just 0.13mg a day.

Significance of the discovery

The present discovery assumes significance for getting rid of the ever increasing Polyethylene plastic waste that degrades the environment.

  • It is estimated that a trillion plastic bags are used every single year. The plastics are highly resistant to breaking down, and even if it does the smaller pieces usually tend to choke up ecosystems without getting degraded. The wax worms were found to transform the polyethylene into ethylene glycol.
  • To make sure it was not just the chewing and degrading the plastic, scientists mashed up some of the worms and smeared them on polyethylene bags and got similar results as above.
  • The molecular details of the process of breakdown could be used to come up with a biotechnological solution for managing polyethylene waste.

Wax Worms

  • Wax worms are medium-white caterpillars with black-tipped feet that live as parasites in bee colonies and are commercially bred for fishing bait.
  • They are the caterpillar larvae of wax moths. Wax moths lay their eggs inside beehives where these worms hatch and grow on beeswax.
  • The wax worms feed on cocoons, pollen, and shed skins of bees and are considered as parasites by the beekeepers.

Prelims Question of the Day

With reference to 'Natural Rate of Unemployment', consider the following statements.

1. It is the level of unemployment in an economy that is just consistent with a stable rate of Inflation.

2. It is the unemployment that prevails when all markets in the economy are in equilibrium.


(a)1 and 2

(b)2 only

(c)1 only

(d)None of the above

Mains Question of the Day

1.GS-No party in power can afford to ignore Directive Principles of State Policy. Comment.(200 Words)

2.Political Science - Explain the role of non state actors, like IMF, World Bank, European Union and MNCs, in modulating and transforming the broad dynamics of international relations. (250 Words).

3.SOCIOLOGY - What is the impact of Globalization on the structure and mobilization of the working class in India? (250 Words).

Sociology - Thinkers