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Potent conversion


Crab and shrimp shells can be made into biodegradable components for batteries.

Whereas, after breeding their larvae – which, it turns out, are rather fond of beer residue, and can be used to produce burger alternatives – black soldier flies are discarded. All that could be about to change.

A US research team recently discovered that the insects, like crustaceans, are a potent source of chitin.

Through chemical processes, the team converted the chitin into a hydrogel capable of absorbing 47 times its weight in water.

Meaning it can supply nutrients to crops. But there’s more.

The sugar molecules contained in the chitin can be used to make sustainable plastics such as polycarbonate or polyurethane – without the use of petrochemicals.

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