Scientists have determined what fecal matter is made of.
In a study published Tuesday in PLOS Biology journal, researchers have found that adult fecal matter is made up of about 75 percent water and 25 percent solid.
According to the study, one gram of healthy human feces contains around 100 billion bacteria, approximately 100 million viruses and archaea, which are single-celled microorganisms that have no cell nucleus or any other membrane-bound organelles in their cells. One gram of fecal matter also contains at least 10 million colonocytes, the human epithelial cells that help protect the colon, about a million yeasts and other single-celled fungi.
The study, which focuses on fecal transplants, determined the composition of feces hoping it would help in figuring out how fecal transplants actually work.
“Feces is a complex material that contains a variety of biological and chemical entities that may be causing or assisting the effects of these transplants,” one of the study’s author biologist Seth Bordenstein reportedly said.
Studies on the effectiveness of fecal transplants have reportedly picked up from fewer than 10 papers on transplants catalogued each year till 2010 to about 200 separate studies by 2015. Bordenstein said that the spike in the number of studies could be explained by the effective use of fecal transplants in treating Clostridium difficile colitis, the infectious and dangerous diarrhea that sometimes follows antibiotic treatments. Just in the U.S., the disease caused at least 29,000 deaths in 2011.
“This research is just getting started,” Bordenstein said, “It is driven by the new paradigm of the microbiome which recognizes that every plant and animal species harbors a collection of microbes that have significant and previously unrecognized effects on host health, evolution, and behavior.”