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Youngsters invited to eat toasted ants at Norwich science show

16:56 01 June 2014

Science in Norwich Day at the Forum. Brothers Kieran, 8, left, and Connor Davis, 10, make faces as they eat a leafcutter queen ant each. Picture: Denise Bradley

Science in Norwich Day at the Forum. Brothers Kieran, 8, left, and Connor Davis, 10, make faces as they eat a leafcutter queen ant each. Picture: Denise Bradley

copyright: Archant 2014

The chance to eat leafcutter ant queens and to view your DNA were among the unusual opportunities when some of the 2,500 scientists employed in Norwich showed off what their work is all about.

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The cooked leafcutter queen ants ready to eat. Picture: Denise BradleyThe cooked leafcutter queen ants ready to eat. Picture: Denise Bradley

The Science in Norwich Day 2014 was held at The Forum today and showcased some of the amazing research which happens on your the city’s doorstep.

There were science shows in The Curve, while youngsters got to take part in all sorts of hands-on activities.

Scientists from the University of East Anglia’s Matt Hutchings laboratory showed off some of their colony of leafcutter ants.

The ants grow their own food in underground fungus farms and collect leaves to feed to the fungus.

But the ants also grow a bacteria on their bodies, which scientists are studying to see if they could pave the way to produce new drugs, including anti-cancer treatments.

At yesterday’s event, brave visitors were able to find out what a queen leafcutter ant tastes like, with toasted ants - considered a delicacy in the Amazon - available for tasting.

Other exhibitors at the event included the John Innes Centre, Institute of Food Research, Norfolk Bat Survey, The Genome Analysis Centre and Norwich Astronomical Society.

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