Polystyrene is a non-biodegradable persistent plastic that is accumulating at alarming rates on land and in rivers, lakes and oceans. To address this, The University of Western Australia will unite with Woodside Energy Ltd to investigate the use of insect technology as a means of converting polystyrene waste into high value protein products. Preliminary studies suggest that larvae of yellow mealworms are capable of degrading polystyrene and polyethylene via enzymatic processes in the larval gut. We seek a student to investigate the process by which this occurs, and explore other insects that could be intensively farmed for plastic removal.
Available in the 2021 Round for Domestic applicants and UWA international graduates only
The project would suit a chemistry graduate with a willingness to learn the biology relevant to this project.
Interested applicants should submit an expression of interest including academic records, a current CV and covering letter outlining their interest in the project to Professor Rob Atkin.
The project manager reserves the right to make an appointment before the closing date if a suitable candidate if identified.