Do Farts Contaminate Operating Theaters?

A nurse at the University of Sydney wanted to know whether her farts were contaminating the operating theatre she worked in. Because Dr Karl Kruszelnicki didn’t know the answer to the question, he decided to test it out.

So, is human flatus germ-laden or merely malodorous?

The experiment went like this: two Petri dishes were placed at a distance of 5 centimeters from a student who released his gases, first fully clothed, then with his trousers down. Then they observed what happened. (the article continues after the ad)

The first flatus that passed through clothing, did not cause any bacteria to sprout. The second Petri though, sprouted visible lumps of bacteria that are found in the gut and on the skin. Conclusion: clothing acts a filter!

As Dr Karl Kruszelnicki noted:

“Our deduction is that the enteric zone in the second Petri dish was caused by the flatus itself, and the splatter ring around that was caused by the sheer velocity of the fart, which blew skin bacteria 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 experiment should not be considered alarming, because neither type of bacterium is harmful. In fact, they’re similar to the ‘friendly’ bacteria found in yoghurt.”

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: Which Animals Do And Do Not Fart? Scientists Give Us The Answer In A #DoesItFart Spreadsheet


Main Article Photo: Park Hill Surgery Center, NBC
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie
Sources: Hot air?