Insects aren’t typically on American dinner menus. But in Asia, beetle larvae called mealworms have long been a useful, environmentally sustainable source of protein, and are growing in popularity as the world population grows.

Brendan Campbell.

Brenden Campbell, a master’s student at Washington State University’s School of the Environment, won recognition from the Comparative Nutrition Society after virtually presenting research on a recently discovered ability in mealworms. In his undergraduate honors research project done in animal sciences, Campbell found that the larvae can safely eat polystyrene waste, discarded polymers better known by their trade name of Styrofoam.

“The initial Stanford experiment was an inspiration to me, and the reason I started this study,” Campbell said. “I wanted to look at this from a food angle and explore the possibilities.”

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