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A yoghurt that changes your poop colour to detect illnesses

Press Trust of India  |  London 

The British researchers who developed the probiotic drink said it works by interacting with the food in the stomach that turns the stools into a variety of hues depending on the ailment and how sick a person is.

The drink has so far been able to detect the progress of e.Coli -- but the researchers hope one day it could diagnose far more conditions, the Daily Mail reported.

Even colorectal cancer, worms or a stomach ulcer could one day be pinpointed by people peering into the toilet until no brown remains, they said.

British designers Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg and James King developed the disease detecting drink by first genetically engineering bacteria to secrete a variety of coloured pigments that are visible to the naked eye.

The duo had designed standardised sequences of DNA, known as BioBricks, and inserted them into E-coli bacteria. Each BioBrick part contains genes selected from a range of existing organisms that allows the bacteria to produce colours like red, yellow, green, blue, brown or purple.

People would simply have to drink a special concoction and diagnose themselves by looking at their poop, they said.

In future the process could also be used to check for colitis, salmonella or Rotavirus, making it a cheap and effective solution for developing countries. It could also check if drinking water is safe by turning red if it is toxic.

King and Ginsberg met whilst studying at Royal College of Art in London, and their work has attracted the attention of synthetic biologists who are seeking to make it a reality.


First Published: Tue, June 19 2012. 18:06 IST