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Young Cusqueños discover a worm that eats plastic

Plastic has become one of the main problems that affects the world because of its extreme use. Its decomposition takes so long that the rivers, seas and the earth is contaminated with this material.

Despite arduous work to recycle some objects such as bottles, in many countries they are banning the use of plastic and increasingly using materials that are degradable.

An interesting news story for all of Peru has just been published. Young Cusqueños won the National School Fair of Science and Technology Eureka 2018 competition organized by Concytec. Their project was “Study of the Worm of Achupalla in the biodegradation of plastic low density polyethylene”. It obtained the highest score from the jury evaluator.

The young menJohan Suclli Machacca and William Aguilar Pauccar of the I.E. Daniel Estrada Pérez from the district of Ccatca in the province of Quispicanchis and department Cusco found in their research a small worm that lives in the trunk of achupalla a plant that grows to 4000 meters above sea level in the Andes of Peru and that is of the family of the Puyas of Raimondi.

The young people comment that they made several tests with different worms and also different materials like plastic bags. The worms of the achupalla plant were those that began to eat these bags. To check that their feces do not contain plant material, they did an infrared spectroscopy test and were able to determine that the stool samples did not contain plastic.

They were also winners among the first in other areas of the contest and they will go to MILSET 2019 in the United Arab Emirates, an International Science Expo to be held in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates. In this event participated different delegations from Africa, Europe, Asia and North America and Latin America.

This discovery by the young researchers of Cusco could help with this big problem that we have all over the world, plastic.

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