Are farts contaminating your brew equipment? ⁰

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Department of Redundancy Department.
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Jan 15, 2018
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Nor Cal
Great question.

It's that question that has been lingering (pun intended) in the back of your mind for some time. You know the familiar situation: it's Saturday morning and you are diligently cleaning and sanitizing your gear for your next step when it hits you... The paint would peel, the doors would warp, the stench could make you cry... you get up and check to see if there is an elephant under your stool or a dead animal in the cupboard... No barking spiders on the wall, nothing, just you. You have step out from the thermonuclear steam cloud you just created for some air and maybe a quick tap on your backside just to confirm you don't have a load in your jockeys. In your delirium, You start thinking about lunch yesterday: baked beans and your ho-made saurkraut, that probiotic kombucha that your spouse insisted was good for you, the 1-2 homebrews with your pals that turned into more like 6-8, the pickled eggs and bag of pork rinds...

Then it hits you, almost as hard as that first whiff... if I can smell that fart, its everywhere, I walked away yet its still here... Did I just contaminate my sterile gear? Do I need to cleanse everything in fire? Start fresh, burn down the garage because that smell had to have permeated the foundation, there is no possible way you can ever brew without a potential infection now. Better just give up or start brewing Smelly Mels Porch barrel aged cupcake sewage stout. Maybe you can start exclusively making sours, hey it's not all bad...

Well my friend's, you can relax. Science has your back. Someone actually did a study, granted they were researching if passing gas in the Operating Room could contaminate the sterile field. So I realize its not nearly as critical as our homebrew sterile area, but I'm confident that their limited research can be extrapolated to our brew rooms.

Let your farts run free without concern, your precious nectar is safe from your putrid flatulence.

That is, assuming you are not naked and farting directly into your fermenter.

Hot air?

Additional article information

“It all started with an enquiry from a nurse,” Dr Karl Kruszelnicki told listeners to his science phone-in show on the Triple J radio station in Brisbane. “She wanted to know whether she was contaminating the operating theatre she worked in by quietly farting in the sterile environment during operations, and I realised that I didn't know. But I was determined to find out.”
Dr Kruszelnicki then described the method by which he had established whether human flatus was germ-laden, or merely malodorous. “I contacted Luke Tennent, a microbiologist in Canberra, and together we devised an experiment. He asked a colleague to break wind directly onto two Petri dishes from a distance of 5 centimetres, first fully clothed, then with his trousers down. Then he observed what happened. Overnight, the second Petri dish sprouted visible lumps of two types of bacteria that are usually found only in the gut and on the skin. But the flatus which had passed through clothing caused no bacteria to sprout, which suggests that clothing acts as a filter.
“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.
“Our final conclusion? Don't fart naked near food. All right, it's not rocket science. But then again, maybe it is?”

Reprinted from the Canberra Times, 17 July 2001; spotter, Michael Doyle.

Submitted by Simon Chapman department of public health and community medicine, University of Sydney

Article information
BMJ. 2001 Dec 22; 323(7327): 1449.

PMCID: PMC1121900

Copyright © 2001, BMJ


Jolly Alcoholic
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Jan 19, 2018
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I don't think I'm surprised, but Dafuq kind of pron you wachin'? Probably better to not answer.

i just click on every link that's on the internet! (and i know you're not supposed to admit it, but i've seen it in person....)

edit: just like i never thought i'd even see someone type that they actually like limburger......