How scientists from Yakutia, researching plastic beetle insects, created a socially significant ecological startup “Xenos” .
Beetles became “ambassadors” of the environmental project
At first, a team of enthusiasts, consisting of two biologists and one ecologist Yevgeny Popov, Valeria Krivogornitsina, Ivan Sokolnikov, read the works of scientists from Korea, Japan, China, who talked about insects that can depolymerize plastic (plastic means polystyrene and its derivatives). According to research, plastic is destroyed due to the action of internal bacteria of the larva of the wax moth, the zophobas morio beetle and other insects. After reviewing the research, biotechnologists began to practice.
Researchers fed the beetles with plastic for two weeks and calculated that 100 beetles eat more than 300 grams of plastic in 12 hours, while 100 moth larvae eat about 100 grams in 12 hours. Thus, it became clear that the zophobas morio beetle breaks down chemical plastic much faster than a moth. The plastic used was polystyrene, polystyrene and a conventional cellophane bag (polyethylene).
How they came up with a green startup
The xenobox contains 3 compartments with beetles, each containing 300 individuals of zophobas morio. This amount is enough to provide a family of 3-4 people with the processing of household plastic: bags, packaging made of polystyrene, polystyrene and polyethylene. The cost of the portable station is 5-6 thousand rubles. The company has already received preliminary orders not only from Yakutia, but also from other regions and foreign countries.
How to keep beetles
It is not necessary to “bother” strongly, as with a cat or a dog. It is necessary to ensure that the temperature is in the range from 20 to 35 degrees Celsius. If the temperature is lower or higher, the process of inhibition begins in beetles: they stop reproducing and feeding. The soil of the “pets” must be sufficiently moist, for this it must be sprayed with a spray bottle (instructions for maintaining the necessary environment are attached to the portable station).
In the podcast “Clean Country”, Radio “Komsomolskaya Pravda” Evgeny Popov told the details about the project.
The project has already been highly appreciated in the republic: at the annual republican exhibition Sakha Innovation 2021, Evgeny Popov with the Xenos project was recognized as the best inventor.
New direction of the project: breeding of wild ticks
Recently, the company “Xenos” in an interview with TASS reported that it is starting to breed colonies of wild ticks to combat pests of agricultural crops in the face of climate change in the Arctic.
In Yakutia, due to climate change, agricultural pests that are not typical for the region began to appear actively. To solve this problem, we are starting to breed wild ticks that will fight pests. In particular, we are talking about spider mites, locusts. For pest control, mites should be released indoors. On average, one female tick can eat up to 20 pests per day.