Inside the Rot Box

Inside the Rot Box

Rotten, decaying, mouldy food...

Sounds pretty horrible doesn't it? That's what's happening in the Rot Box in Edinburgh Zoo. The Rot Box looks like a normal kitchen, but it's the most disgusting kitchen you'll ever see.

Rot Box is a massive experiment to record the hidden world of decay, involving animals, bacteria and fungi that are under our nose every day. The Rot Box is large glass cube surrounding a life-size kitchen and garden, full of barbeque food like burgers, rolls, a chicken, fresh fruit and vegetables. There are even dead mice behind the walls, just in case decomposing chicken wasn't enough! I bet it smells pretty disgusting...

Here's a sneaky peek of what's happening to some burgers inside the Rot Box. Don't watch it whilst you're eating lunch!

BBC time lapse cameras are recording the Rot Box to reveal exactly what happens when food decays. Decay sounds pretty horrible, but it is essential for every species on the planet to survive.

Wnat to know more about decay and the Rot Box? Go to BBC Rot Box or have a look at the Daily What's interview with George McGavin.

Try our quiz about decay! Warning - some pretty disgusting pictures inside!

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Curriculum information

  • Summary

    Rot Box is a massive experiment to record the hidden world of decay, involving animals, bacteria and fungi that are under our nose every day. Link to videos showing maggots decomposing burgers. Demonstrate in a disgusting way how nutrients are recycled and see why food needs to be preserved.

    Curriculum key wordsOther web links
    • Decomposers
    • Nitrogen cycle
    • Microbes
    Forensic entomology
    Animation of the nitrogen cycle
    Food preservation techniques
    Science Curriculum Links
    National CurriculumCurriculum for excellenceNorthern Ireland Curriculum
    Organisms are interdependent (KS4 Sc2.1).Animal and plant species depend on each other (SCN 4-01a). Nitrogen cycle (SCN 4-03a).Decomposers and the nitrogen cycle (KS4 biology).
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