Worms can change the world, in a very literal sense. The most popular and well known education about red worms is that they can eat organic waste and convert it to soil, create aeration, and make fields and farms healthier. Yet, worms are changing far more than just composting and farming. Worms offer many advantages and contribute other benefits, many of which are hardly ever discussed. Interested in learning more? Read on!
- Worms can replace fish meal: Worms are among nature's favorite foods. With worms being high in protein, omega-3 fat, and complex amino acids, they make a great food for a wide range of animals, including fish, amphibians, and reptiles. Worm meal is similar to fishmeal, which is an important food source, especially for aquaponics. Even better, worms, unlike wild caught fish, are sustainable.
- Worms are pollution cleaners: Worms effectively bio-accumulate or bio-degrade several organic and inorganic chemicals, including heavy metals, organochlorine pesticide, and micropollutants like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
- Worms devour harmful bacteria and protozoa: Worms routinely devour protozoa, bacteria, and fungus in any waste materials or soil. They seem to realize instinctively that anaerobic bacteria and fungi are undesirable to other species (such as humans) and so they feed upon them preferentially. Researchers found worms living in pathogen-rich materials, such as sewage and sludge, show no evidence of pathogens beyond 5 mm of their gut when dissected. This confirms that something inside the worms destroys the pathogens, thus making excreta (vermicast) pathogen-free.
- Worms clean hazardous waste: Worms can degrade fly-ash, which is considered hazardous waste due to heavy metal contamination, from the coal power plants. The worms degrade the fly-ash and absorb the metal, making the vermicomposting safer and usable.
- Worms produce natural antibiotics: The earthworms release coelomic fluids that have anti-bacterial properties and destroy all pathogens in the waste biomass, including salmonella, E. Coli, and botulism. These natural "antibiotics" from the worms kill the pathogenic organisms in the waste and soil and render it virtually sterile.
- Worms may even destroy cancer: Polish scientists think the digestive fluid of worms could one day be used to treat lung cancer. The researchers at the Maria Curie-Sklodowska University extracted coelomic fluid and used it on lung cancer cells. Initial lab tests showed that the coelomic fluid damaged A549 lung cancer cells in 75-80 percent of cases, leaving normal cells unharmed. More research is required.