We usually don’t pay much attention to decay because it’s gross and dirty, but it’s why we’re not up to our eyeballs in junk. You have bacteria, fungi, snails, maggots, flies and others to thank. So we portrayed them as secret agents because that’s what they are. When Mother Nature has a mess, you call the “cleaners” right?
Full text for 11 Facts about Decay:
1. Who’s hungry?
A vulture’s digestive tract takes probiotics to a new level: their helpful gut bacteria include pathogens that cause tetanus, botulism, food poisoning, and gangrene.
Like this, if you’re annoyed by picky eaters.
2. The Strengths and Weaknesses of Plastic
Most plastics can only be broken down by sunlight through a process called “photodegradation”, where UV rays weaken the plastic polymer bonds at a molecular level.
Unfortunately most of it is hidden under other trash.
3. Rust: Feel the Slow Burn.
The combustion reaction between iron and oxygen that produces rust also produces heat. In fact, it produces the same amount of heat as fire, but spread out over a longer time.
4. Mealworms Meals
Researchers have raised mealworms that digest Styrofoam thanks to their gut bacteria, converting the plastic to non-toxic waste and C02.
More than just fish bait.
5. Pretty Fly
A blowfly lays up to 300 eggs at one time. The maggots can consume 60% of a human body in less than a week.
Thankfully they do all the dirty work.
6. Down on the Farm
There are places called ”Body farms”, where cadavers are left to decay. Observational data is then used to help detectives determine a victim’s time and cause of death.
Making you thankful for the job you have now.
7. Circle of Life
Blow flies help the forensic analyses of homicides. Since maggots grow at constant rates, their sizes and stages of development provide clues to the time and cause of death.
8. Hungry Hungry Mushrooms
Fungi absorb nutrients via their mycelium below ground. The largest organism in the world is a fungus with a 2,384-acre mycelium network.
So much more than just a pizza topping.
9. Gastropod Dental
The average garden snail has over 14,000 teeth, which help them eat fungi, rotting leaves, and even soil.
They also have great smiles.
10. Leading the World in Garbage
The U.S. is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds/person/year, which means that 5% of the world’s people generate 40% of the world’s waste.
Who’s ordered a pen from amazon and had it come in a huge box and styrofoam?
11. Mushroom Power
Researchers have shown that shiitake mushrooms can act as superior supercapacitor electrodes. When used as a starting material, the mushrooms can create a porous carbon scaffold with an incredibly large surface area.
Just one of many mushroom talents