THE beworm PROJECT

Since 1950, humans have produced about 8.3 billion tons of plastic. Instead of recycling or reusing it, we thought it would be a good idea to litter in the environment. Well, we all know where that's headed. But nature came up with its own solution: In the last years research has documented over 90 different organisms, microorganisms and biomolecules that are able to break down long-chain polymers. 

beworm uses these bioagents to develop a biotic/biocatalytic recycling process, that decomposes oil-based plastics like polyethylene and closes the gap in the material cycle. In our first experiments we worked with waxworms, but the real magic is done by microorganisms and enzymes in their digestive system. That's why we are working on the isolation and optimization of PE-cleaving bioagents, aiming to develop a scalable, efficient and ressource-saving process

BUT HOW DOES IT WORK?

Polyethylen is a polymer composed of long hydrocarbon chains 

The outcome of

the process are the monomers or building blocks of polyethylene 

Microorganisms

like fungi and bacteria

produce enzymes that can break up these long chains

The enzymes act on polyethylene as their substrate and degrade the material

Those building blocks could be used for new petrochemical products or plastic 
materials

GREAT! SO I CAN LITTER WHEREVER I WANT?

NO!

GPGP.png

HOW BIG IS THE PROBLEM?

Well, very big. This is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, one out of five trash islands floating around our the oceans. And yes, that's it's real size. 

UNITED STATES

1.600.000 km²

MEXICO

MILESTONES

2019

2020

2021

Big Goal

beworm wins

the Biomimetic Idea Challenge awarded by the TUM Leonardo da Vinci Center of Bionics as a first funding

The team gets a
spot 
at the TUM Entrepreneurship Center, situated right next to the Bio.Kitchen in Garching

In 2021 beworm
aims 
to get a start-up grant to work full time
on the experiments
and  the product

development
 

BIOTIC

RECYCLING

SYSTEM

THE BIONEERS

Eleonore Eisath

MSc. Industrial Design

Management, Design

Stefan Szalay

MSc. Biology
& Dipl. Ing. Electrical Engineering and IT

Experimentation, Prototyping

Erick Pano
MSc. BioNanotechnology
Research, Management

Verena Wolfarth
BSc. Biology

MSc. Biology (Student)

Research, Experimentation

 

OUR PARTNERS

XPLORE

THINK.

MAKE.

START.

WOMEN

STARTUP!

TUM

ID

YOU?

Bio.Kitchen

Chair of
Microbiology
Prof. Liebl

CURRENT LAB WORK

Our main goal is to find out which bioagents are the most efficient for a PE-degradation process by experimenting with different organisms, bacteria and enzymes.

              Check out our lab

BENEFITS 

The beworm-project is ambitious, as it enters unknown terrain. Only a few teams worldwide are working on biotic and biocatalytic recycling systems. But we think that it could really make a difference, because it: 

SAVES 
RESOURCES
CHANGES
PERSPECTIVES
RECYCLES
POLYETHYLENE
 

BECOME A BIONEER

With your help, we could start a global wormolution!
Get your own experiments started and share your insights with the community. Show us your incubators
and send us your idea of a futuristic solution for the plastic problem! 
Become a bioneer now!

BUILD YOUR OWN INCUBATOR IN...

5 EASY STEPS!

You will only need a few simple things that you will find in the stores of your city to start your own worm farm!
Take good care of your worms and they will stun you with awesome results!

JOIN US!

Are you interested in collaborating? Or just curious? Leave a message to get in touch! 
Our website is brand new, so we would be happy to hear your opinion. Score us here!
 
links
supported by

Bio.Kitchen

UnternehmerTUM

Chair of Industrial Design

Technical University of Munich

Chair of Microbiology
Technical University of Munich

Institute of Hydrochemistry

Technical University of Munich

Munich School of BioEngineering 

Technical University of Munich
 

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