What stalk straws for DNA and hormone testing

Plastic straw replacement study

Picture of a three straws

Last updated 04/04/2022.

With its severe negative impacts on the environment the overuse of polypropylene plastic (PP) has become a global issue. Many are now looking for alternatives to single-use plastic straws, which are now banned in several countries.

It is all-too-easy to place the emphasis on the reuse and/or disposal of a straw, above all landfill and ocean life. Thus, reusable straws, or straws made of "natural" biodegradable material, may appear superior to plastic straws. However, life-cycle studies are required to compare the true environmental impact of plastic replacement. Such studies look at the full process through the lifespan of a product, including all processes associated with production, supply chains, maintenance, disposal, and degradation. For plastic straws, good life-cycle studies should consider water and ozone depletion, land use, landfill, ocean pollution, and destruction of natural habitats. For instance, paper straws may disintegrate better than plastic, but they require a lot more land use, and water consumption during production. Reusable stainless steel straws may not make it to the ocean, but they need a lot of resources to be created, they require further water and chemicals to clean between uses, and unless proper recycling facilities are available they end up on landfills once they are disposed of. Bamboo pulp straws may appear environmentally friendly but only if they are reused, and they further take a toll on the natural habitat where they are grown.

Persometrics has identified edible wheat stem straws as a good replacement for single-use plastic straws. Lifecycle studies show that wheat straw products are environmentally friendly insofar as they are an otherwise discarded byproduct of corn production, and therefore require no land use. They disintegrate in soil and require little water during the production of the wheat straw pulp as compared to other biodegradable materials, such as bamboo and paper. We do not recommend eating our straws, but they are compostable and you can even bury them in your garden or plant pots, where they will disintegrate within 3 months (faster if they are first kept in water overnight).

Our pilot study has shown that the readings from two types of straw differ by 1-5% and we have decided to phase out the use of plastic straws for this reason. We are now looking to publish the findings to allow other laboratories across the world do the same. For this we aim to conduct a study with a larger sample size. The volunteers for this study need to provide samples in duplicate, i.e. sampled at the same time (one after another).

For the time being, we are testing the scientific reliability of saliva sampled through biodegradable straws from the biomarkers listed on the wheat study biomarker list.

For information, instructions and to provide your email to receive your results. Visit the questionnaire by tapping the following link.

wheat study questionnaire Qualifying products

Note that we cannot provide you with payment for your participation. You can at any time decide not to be part of the study. If so, contact us for full reimbursement. If you have received a promotional price, we cannot perform an analysis for you unless we receive both samples. Results will be made available on our site when we have them.

Note: Wheat stalks do not contain gluten, but we cannot guarantee the safety of our wheat straws for saliva sampling for people suffering from coeliac disease or gluten intolerance.

Thank you for helping to protect our planet.