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Gas Analysis

March 18, 2015

Analyzing the gas in our gut can provide a window into our interior ecosystem.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Introducing the gas test. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Our intestines are home to trillions of microorganisms, and scientists are discovering that this complex ecosystem inside us has a huge effect on our health. So how do we check up on our microbes? In the journal Trends in Biotechnology, engineer Kourosh Kalanatar-zadeh at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, suggests using a gas-detecting capsule that could be swallowed and then would sniff its way down our gut, reporting on various gases and their levels.

Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh (RMIT University):

These types of gases and their concentration changes, so we can use them as really nice biomarkers.

HIRSHON:

He says analyzing the gas we produce—or, rather, they produce—reveals what sort of organisms are most active, and the chemical processes in which they’re engaged. This can provide insights into not only gastro-intestinal disorders, but also many other conditions throughout the body. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.