Press about probiotics hit a bit of an unsavory note with a story about a study in which scientists used strains of bacteria isolated from infant poop in an effort to develop healthier sausage links.
Remember, any press is good press, right?
The source of the buzz is the research journal Meat Science, which published the article “Nutritionally enhanced fermented sausages as a vehicle for potential probiotic lactobacilli delivery.” The article featured a study designed to determine whether infant feces might be a good source for health-promoting probiotics.
"Probiotic fermented sausages will give an opportunity to consumers who don't take dairy products the possibility to include probiotic foods to their diet," wrote study co-author Anna Jofré, a food microbiologist at Catalonia's Institute of Food and Agricultural Research's (IRTA) food-safety program in Girona, Spain.
Diaper-sourced sausages may not be as nauseating as they seem, based on the ever-so-clickable pooperoni headlines. “In fact, you have probably already consumed foods or supplements made with a bacterial strain derived from human feces without even knowing it.” according to Slate.com. “Some probiotics—not all, but some—are isolated from feces,” Mary Ellen Sanders, a consultant in probiotic microbiology, told Slate. Sanders gave the example of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, a probiotic that was isolated from human feces in 1983 and is now widely used in products such as “buttermilks, yoghurts, milk, fruit drinks, ‘daily dose’ drinks and fermented whey-based drinks.”
As for the sausages created in the Spanish study, professional tasters confirmed they tasted just like regular sausages, even though they were healthier, low-fat, low-salt versions. The scientists tried their creations as well.
"We ate them, and they tasted very good," Jofré told LiveScience.com. Future research needs to confirm if this strain of bacteria actually has health-promoting effects. "Meanwhile, they can be used for the production of tasty fermented sausages," Jofré said.