Pacific Science Center

Bringing science to life.

 

PacSci-Doku: “Plastic Destroyer”

By Dennis Schatz – Senior Advisor

Do you Sudoku? It’s one of the hottest number games around! Well, here’s a twist we think you’ll love. We call it PacSci-Doku. Can you guess why? Here’s how it works. Instead of filling in the blanks with numbers, we use letters. Hidden in one of the columns or rows is the answer to a science question. You’ll find information about the answer on the answer tab below.

The question in this edition is:

What might provide a way to get rid of our plastic trash?

To find the answer, complete this PacSci-Doku using the following nine letters:

W  w  m  s  r  x  _  o  a

PacSci-Doku: "Plastic Destroyer"

The Puzzle

Puzzle Difficulty: Hard

The Solution
PacSci-Doku: "Plastic Destroyer"

The Solution

The question in this edition is:

What might provide a way to get rid of our plastic trash?

The answer: Wax Worms

Federica Bertocchini is a Spanish scientist and amateur beekeeper. One day she was cleaning her beehives by removing wax worms, which eat the honey and wax, and putting them in a plastic bag. Within hours the worms had eaten holes into the bags. The worms weren’t just chewing the plastic into little pieces, but were digesting it. This exciting discovery may lead to a new way to eliminate the plastic trash in our environment.

This doesn’t mean that we will soon be putting plastic trash into “worm bins” filled with wax worms. The goal of scientists is to identify the enzymes or other aspect of the worm’s digestive process that could be used to dispose of the plastic on an industrial level. Read more about this unusual characteristic of the wax worm.

 

 

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