Probiotic foods have been associated with several health benefits, from regulating bowel movements to increasing immunity. Though the claims are sometimes disputed, we've seen a number of "good bacteria" products appear in the last few years, including "functional" yogurts like Activia and more ancient recipes like kimchi and kombucha.
You may not be surprised to hear of another probiotic foodstuff in the making. It is, oddly enough, in the form of a sausage. But that's not even the weirdest part. What may be most shocking is the source of the mighty micro-organisms present in the sausage: human feces. Or, to be more exact--baby poop.
Food scientists in Spain took 43 stool samples from baby diapers and cultured the bacteria in petri dishes. Then, they transferred the bacteria to six bundles of fuet, a Catalonian sausage similar to chorizo. The researchers were looking for a bacteria that would become the dominant strain within the meat (would dominate over the naturally occurring organism) and they found only one that did. It multiplied to levels of 100 million cells per gram--enough to begin to promote health benefits, the scientists say.
Co-author of the study, Anna Jofré, a food microbiologist at Catalonia's Institute of Food and Agricultural Research, says the sausages could be an alternative for people who don't like yogurt. She told Live Science: "Probiotic fermented sausages will give an opportunity to consumers who don't take dairy products the possibility to include probiotic foods to their diet."
The researchers still need to test the sausage's actual probiotic effects on humans, and there are no plans to commercialize the meat tubes at this stage. However, Jofré says the sausages "tasted very good" when cooked.
[Image: Sausage via Shutterstock]