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Stool sample sausage: Poop probiotics might make meat healthier

Food researchers use bacteria found in baby feces to create a sausage with probiotic benefits. They even say it tastes "very good."

Do you really want to know how the sausage is made? Anna Jofré

Rejoice, sausage lovers, or maybe not. Spanish researchers trying to create a healthier meat product may have found their answer inside a baby's diaper.

Using six strains of bacteria -- three from the baby poop of healthy infants up to 6 months old, and three from commercial probiotics -- the researchers whipped up fermented pork sausage, and found that the meat made using one strain of the tot excrement contained the most microbes -- "enough to produce health-promoting effects to people."

"The two kinds of bacteria used most often in probiotics, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, are far more abundant in infant poop than in adult excrement," food microbiologist Anna Jofré of Catalonia's Institute of Food and Agricultural Research told Live Science.

The researchers published their study, titled "Nutritionally enhanced fermented sausages as a vehicle for potential probiotic lactobacilli delivery," in the February issue of the journal Meat Science.

A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that probiotics carry health benefits such as lowering inflammation, preventing urinary tract infections, and assisting with digestive health.

Bacteria are already used to make fermented sausage, though they generally come from microorganisms already found in the raw meat. The sausages made by the food researchers were low-fat, low-salt versions of fuet, a cured, dry pork sausage popular in Spain that resembles the pork sausage chorizo. Professional tasters reported that the sausages tasted like regular fuet. "All the final products recorded a satisfactory overall sensory quality without any noticeable off-flavor, and with the characteristic sensory properties of low-acid fermented sausages." In other words, they tasted good. Or at least OK.

While more research is needed to prove that the baby-poop bacteria can produce the array of probiotic effects, no companies have decided as of yet to sell the sausages commercially. Which is probably good, since we're not sure we're ready for a poop-sausage and mushroom pizza quite yet.