0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
“It all started with an enquiry from a nurse,” Dr Karl Kruszelnickitold listeners to his science phonein show on the Triple J radiostation in Brisbane. “She wanted to know whether she wascontaminating the operating theatre she worked in by quietlyfarting in the sterile environment during operations, and Irealised that I didn't know. But I was determined to find out.”Dr Kruszelnicki then described the method by which he hadestablished whether human flatus was germladen, or merelymalodorous. “I contacted Luke Tennent, a microbiologist inCanberra, and together we devised an experiment. He asked acolleague to break wind directly onto two Petri dishes from adistance of 5 centimetres, first fully clothed, then with his trousersdown. Then he observed what happened. Overnight, the secondPetri dish sprouted visible lumps of two types of bacteria that areusually found only in the gut and on the skin. But the flatus whichhad passed through clothing caused no bacteria to sprout, whichsuggests that clothing acts as a filter.“Our deduction is that the enteric zone in the second Petri dishwas caused by the flatus itself, and the splatter ring around thatwas caused by the sheer velocity of the fart, which blew skinbacteria from the cheeks and blasted it onto the dish. It seems,therefore, that flatus can cause infection if the emitter is naked,but not if he or she is clothed. But the results of the experimentshould not be considered alarming, because neither type ofbacterium is harmful. In fact, they're similar to the `friendly'bacteria found in yoghurt.“Our final conclusion? Don't fart naked near food. All right, it'snot rocket science. But then again, maybe it is?”