NEWS OF THE WEIRD

If You Work with Poop, 
Don't Complain About the Smell

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Person-to-person fecal transplants have been mentioned here several times for the bizarre but therapeutic idea that gastrointestinal illness results from an imbalance between healthy and unhealthy gut bacteria — and that a transplant of healthier antigens may relieve the sickness. But what happens if no "compatible" donor is available? Emma Allen-Vercoe and her team at Canada's University of Guelph are thus creating artificial gut bacteria ("robogut") under demanding control conditions, for implantation. (Allen-Vercoe grumbled to Popular Science in August that the most disagreeable part of the job is disposing of excess sludge — the process for which causes "the whole building" to "smell like poop.")

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