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Sometimes we’re having so much fun, we forget that all of this MythBusting is actually SCIENCE! Follow your curiosity and use the links below to discover more of the science behind the myths at MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition.

 

Exploding Farts

Why do we pass gas? And on a more troubling note, why is it flammable?

Digestion and Gas Production


Most of the farts you create originate from swallowing air while you eat and drink. Some foods, however, are notorious gas producers. The number one offender? Beans. What did the little bean ever do to gain such a rotten reputation? Beans, along with foods like cauliflower, corn, eggs and many others contain sugars that our bodies do not digest well. Raffinose, stachiose and verbascose are three of the culprits. When they arrive undigested in your intestines, your bacteria go wild, devour them and produce gas.

Most of the gas you produce from swallowed air is made up of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. The bacteria in your intestines give your farts their unique smell and makes them flammable. Methane and hydrogen in these bacteria-produced farts are the flammable chemicals that make the exploding fart possible.

Although the gas we pass can cause some temporary embarrassment, remember that everyone out there is doing it—women, men, horses, dogs, and yes, even whales. In fact, several thousand years ago the Roman emperor Claudius passed a law that allowed all Roman citizens to fart whenever they needed to. That’s fine for ancient Rome, but these days, we suggest you evaluate your environment before playing it by rear.

 

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