Biodegradation of expanded polystyrene (EPS) (Styrofoam) block as feedstock to Tribolium castaneum (Red Flour Beetle) imago: A promising plastic-degrading process
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The study was conducted to determine the biodegradation of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) (Styrofoam) Blocks as feedstock to Tribolium castaneum (Red Flour Beetle) Imago. Three-hundred-sixty (360) Tribolium castaneum (Red Flour Beetle) Imagos were collected and acclimatized for two days before being exposed to experimentation. Incubation boxes were made using plywood. Three set-ups were prepared, with 30 Tribolium castaneum (Red Flour Beetle) each. Seven (7) grams of Styrofoam Block were placed in Set-up 1, seven (7) grams of Styrofoam and seven (7) grams of Rice grain Bran in Set-up 2 and seven (7) grams of Rice grain Bran in Set-up 3 with three replications each. Mean percent mass loss of Styrofoam and Rice grain Bran, mean percent mass loss and survival rate of Tribolium castaneum (Red Flour Beetle) were measured at 5th, 10th, 15th and 20th day incubation periods. Maximum mean percent mass loss in the different set-ups was observed at the 10th, 15th and 20th incubation period, with loses of 7.14%, 10.71% and 10.71%, respectively. Meanwhile, maximum mean percent increased weight of Tribolim castaneum (Red Flour Beetle) was observed at the 10th day incubation period, with 13.51%, 44.44% and 37.93%, respectively. Microscopic observation, of a dark white smear on the gut of the specimen indicates that Tribolium castaneum (Red Flour Beetle) Imago really masticate and biodegrade the Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) (Styrofoam) blocks. The survival rate of Tribolium castaneum (Red Flour Beetle) in the diverse set-ups showed no significant difference. This implies that ingestion of Styrofoam Block had no lethal effects on the natural weight variation and health of the Tribolium castaneum (Red Flour Beetle). Hence, results indicate that Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) (Styrofoam) Block can be a feedstock for Tribolium castaneum (Red Flour Beetle).
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