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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Their S**T Really Does Smell Better

NPR has a story on bio-engineering students who monkeyed around with E. coli to make it smell better.

E. coli is a popular microbe for biologists to experiment with. Unfortunately, it apparently smells like s**t. Perhaps not the most surprising thing, since it sits in our gut and helps us churn out s**t.

But hey, they're bio-engineers! Something doesn't work right, they'll fix it. And fix it they did. They changed the odor to minty fresh. Even better, while the E Coli is growing, it smells like mint. When it it mature, meaning experiments are done, it changes odor to banana.

There was no mention of what happens if the students eat their genetically modified E coli. What I want to know is, will their s**t really smell like mint or banana?

Should they indeed swallow the new E coli, I can just see some negative reinforcement. Their shit does start to smell better. But eventually, they'll learn to hate the smell of either mint or banana. If you associated those odors with s**t every day of your life, wouldn't you not feel like eating mints or bananas again?

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