So recently a paper came out that showed that mealworms can eat, digest and survive on styrofoam. I wondered if other species could do the same so I tried it out with the much larger and totally different species, superworms. Not only will they eat it but they seem to quite enjoy eating it. check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TS9PWzkUG2s
Probably but you'd want to feed them some oats or fruit for a bit, 1 for the taste and 2 to be sure there's no bits of styrofoam left in them. I was thinking put some vermiculite or perlite in with them and as they die and poo soil builds up in the bottom. Then all of the nutrients stored in them goes directly back to the soil and we can just grow some tastier stuff.
They are simply starving to death with a full stomach. I don't buy your bacteria theory. At the very least there are no salts, minerals, vitamins, amino acids or other nutrients in the foam.
They've been eating it for weeks and should have died a long time ago. Also, this is now 2 species which actively eat styrofoam and show no health complications. The only thing they would eventually be depleted of is micronutrients like iron, and other metals/ions. But there is a very good chance that the bacteria in their digestive systems are producing all of the vitamins they need as well as doing the work of breaking it down. Also I'll be culturing them and the droppings to see if I can get styrofoam to degrade without them first eating it. Was just waiting on agar to arrive in the mail so I can make up some plates.
Can you cite or link to the paper you mention? Polystyrene catabolism seems extraordinary and I'd love to see their evidence.
I'm inclined to believe >>7760143 for now. You should have massed the worms and excretions for good evidence, as styrofoam is by far mostly air and purely mechanical division itself leads to a major volume decrease of the sort you observed. The behavioral observations and color change were good