Environmental Biotechnology: Biodegradation of Microplastics with Larvae of Tenebrio Molitor and Galleria Mellonella

Jacquelin Espinoza Pinchi, Juan J. Ordoñez Gálvez, Carlos Castañeda Olivera, Elmer Benites-Alfaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Plastics have become one of the serious problems with a significant negative impact, especially in the sea, due to their long biodegradation time. This is further aggravated when the size of microplastics is reduced because of the exposure to mechanical and temperature effort. One of the places where they are deposited by the dynamics of the sea waves are the beach areas. The research presents as a method of environmental biotechnology, the use of larvae of Tenebrio molitor and Galleria mellonella for the biodegradation of microplastics sample collected from the Azul beach in Ventanilla. The investigation began by characterizing the microplastics, these being identified as polyethylene terephthalate, polyvinyl chloride, and expanded polystyrene. The microplastics were then subjected for periods of 5, 10 and 15 days to larvae of Tenebrio molitor and Galleria mellonella, verifying that at 15 days there was a higher level of biodegradation of these, being 54.2% with 30 larvae of Tenebrio molitor for the Expanded Polystyrene and 34.4% with 30 Galleria mellonella Larvae for Polyvinyl Chloride. It is concluded that the use of these larvae turns out to be a viable and important way as an alternative for the degradation of microplastics and with the advantage of being friendly to the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-192
Number of pages6
JournalChemical Engineering Transactions
StatePublished - 2022


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