Does she or does she not? In 2017 the larvae of the wax moth caused an international sensation. The Italian biologist Dr. Federica Bertocchini observed that the wax moth larvae easily ate through plastic bags without leaving any residue. As a scientist, she got to the bottom of the matter and found out that the larvae were able to metabolize certain plastics. A chance for the biological degradation of plastic waste?
Her following publications on this matter met with enthusiastic interest and skepticism among experts. Critics suspected that the larvae does not break down the plastic, but only excretes them in a greatly reduced form.
Federica Bertocchini now has the opportunity to intensify her research at the renowned Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas (CIB) in Madrid. The Röchling Foundation is funding her with a three-year research project (2019 to 2021). At the Biological Research Centre in the Spanish capital, Dr. Bertocchini finds the best conditions not only for verifying her results, but also for developing application possibilities with her team.