Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

NCBI ROFL: Farts: an underappreciated threat to astronauts.

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

4594496905_4e570e5745.jpg

Intestinal hydrogen and methane of men fed space diet. "Intestinal bacteria form two gases, hydrogen (H2) and methane (CH4), that could constitute a fire hazard in a closed chamber. So H2 and CH4 pass from the anus but these gases are also transported by the blood to the lungs and removed to the atmosphere. Several factors affect gas formation: 1) amount and kind of fermentable substrate; 2) abundance, types, and location of microflora; and 3) psychic and somatic conditions that affect the gut. We evaluated the first factor by studying men fed different diets and have also recorded influences of uncontrollable factors. One group of 6 men ate Gemini-type diet (S) and another received a bland formula (F), for 42 days. Breath and rectal gases were analyzed during the first and final weeks. Flatus gases varied widely within dietary groups but much more gas was generated with diet S than with F. In the first 12-hour collection, subjects fed S passed 3 to 209 ml (ATAP) of rectal H2 (avg 52) and 24 to 156 ml (avg 69) from the lungs (assuming normal pulmonary ventilation). With F, these values were 0 to 3 ml (avg 1) and 6 to 36 ml (avg 20). Subjects were calmer during the second test. Gas production was lower with S than initially; F values were unchanged. Methane differed idiosyncratically, presumably due to differences in flora. Computed from 12-hour values, maximum potential daily H2 and CH4 are per man: for S, 730 ml and 382 ml; for F, 80 and 222 ml. Volumes would be larger at reduced spacecraft and suit pressures."

farts_in_space.png

Photo: flickr/gnews pics

Related content: Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Frog barf iinnnn spaaaaaaace!!! Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Disgusting smells cause decreased liking of gay men. Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Beans, beans, the musical fruit… WTF is NCBI ROFL? Read our FAQ!

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 75%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In