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5 Insects You Might Want In Your Machinery

5 Insects You Might Want In Your Machinery
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Mention “bugs” in the same breath as “technology” and the first thing that comes to mind is that something is wrong with your computer. But insects from the earthworm to the termite are contributing to technological advances in many ways and enough so that we may have to think twice about calling the earthworm “lowly.”

1. Earthworm Alchemy: Their Guts Can Make Nanoparticles

Scientists have found that earthworms’ digestive systems are an unlikely site for manufacturing nanoparticles. These beyond-minuscule semiconductors called quantum dots that, as John Timmer explains in Ars Technica, can be used for tiny lasers and LEDs with potential applications in detecting diseases, anti-counterfeit devices and much more.

An earthworm’s digestive tract is surrounded by chloragogenous tissue, an organ that Timmer describes as “the worm’s rough equivalent of the liver.” The researchers put cadmium chloride and sodium tellurite into soil, left earthworms in it for eleven days and found “visible dots — present at the edges of the chloragogenous tissue” that, when examined, “glowed at the characteristic wavelengths associated with CdTe [cadmium chloride] quantum dots.”

Next, researchers hope to see what other substances can be “processed” via earthworms’ guts into useful materials.

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Photos from Thinkstock

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3:20AM PDT on Apr 4, 2014

Thank you

9:33AM PDT on Jul 1, 2013

thank you for the interesting story 1/7

4:36AM PDT on Apr 18, 2013


4:59AM PDT on Apr 16, 2013

Interesting and nice that the animals aren't harmed.

9:35AM PDT on Apr 15, 2013

Interesting!! But leave the worms in the earth where they belong...thanks

2:36AM PST on Feb 12, 2013


2:35AM PST on Feb 12, 2013


12:10AM PST on Jan 30, 2013

Very interesting. Hope they leave the poor earthworms in peace though.

11:09AM PST on Jan 24, 2013

Interesting. Tks.

2:26AM PST on Jan 20, 2013

great stuff ! thanks for sharing

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