AUG 19, 2017 10:37 AM PDT

What Makes Farts Smell Terrible

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Researchers took a look at a common body function, flatulence, to learn more about it. Arising from a sincere desire to know whether a sterile environment like a surgical suite might be harmed by the fumes from a fart, the data revealed a lot.

We usually swallow air throughout the day, and that air has to be expelled from our bodies eventually. But a fart or flatus tends to come from the microbes that live in our gastrointestinal tract; after they break down molecules like sugar, gaseous byproducts are released. Those gases are not harmful, and they do not tend to include methane. Most people don't carry gut microbes that generate methane.

The bad smell of a fart comes from compounds that contain sulfur. You can learn more about these sulfur containing compounds from the video. There are not enough of them present in flatus for them to pose any danger to us. As for the microbes that might be released with the flatus, as long as clothing is worn they don't pose any threat to the environment.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
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