Subject: This Is Los Alamos Lab Research At It's Best!
Everything you always wanted to know about farts...and some things you
probably didn't want to know.
What makes farts stink?
The odor of flatulence comes from small amounts of hydrogen sulfide gas
mercaptans in the mixture. These compounds contain sulfur.
Nitrogen-rich compounds such as skatole and indole also add to the stench.
The more sulfur-rich one's diet, the more sulfides and mercaptans will be
produced by the bacteria in their guts, and the more their farts will
Foods such as cauliflower, eggs and meat are notorious for producing
farts, whereas beans produce large amounts of not particularly stinky
Why are stinky farts generally warmer and quieter than regular farts?
Most flatulence comes from swallowed air and consists largely of nitrogen
and carbon dioxide, the oxygen having been absorbed by the time it reaches
the anal opening. These gases are odorless, although they often pick up
other (and more odiferous) components on their passage through the bowel.
They emerge from the anus in fairly large bubbles at body temperature. A
person can often achieve a good sound with these voluminous farts, but
are commonly (but not always!) mundane with respect to odor, and don't
particularly warm. Another major source of flatulence is bacterial
Bacterial fermentation and digestion processes produce heat as a byproduct
as well as various pungent gases. The resulting bubbles of gas tend to be
small, hot, and concentrated with stinky bacterial metabolic products.
These emerge as the notorious, warm, SBD (Silent-But-Deadly) emissions,
often in amounts too small to produce a good sound, but excelling in
How much gas does a normal person pass per day?
On average, a person produces about half a liter of flatulence per day,
distributed over an average of about fourteen daily farts. Whereas it may
be difficult for you to determine your daily flatus volume, you can
certainly keep track of your daily numerical fart count. You might try
as a science fair project: Keep a journal of everything you eat and a
of your farts. You might make a note of the potency of their odor as
See if you can discover a relationship between what you eat, how much you
fart, and how much they smell.
How long does it take flatulence to travel to someone else's nose?
Fart travel time depends on atmospheric conditions such as humidity,
temperature, wind speed and direction, the molecular weight of the fart
particles, and the distance between the fart transmitter and the fart
receiver. Farts also disperse (spread out) as they leave the source, and
their potency diminishes with dilution. Generally, if flatus is not
detected within a few seconds, it will be too dilute for perception and
be lost into the atmosphere forever. Exceptional conditions exist when
flatus is released into a small enclosed area such as an elevator, a small
room, or a car. These conditions limit the amount of dilution possible,
the flatus may remain in a smellable concentration for a long period of
time, until it condenses on the walls.
Why is there a 13 to 20 second delay between farting and the time it
Actually, the fart stinks immediately upon emergence, but it takes several
seconds for the odor to travel to the farter's nostrils. If farts could
travel at the speed of sound, we would smell them almost instantly, at the
same time we hear them.
Is it true that some people never fart?
No, not if they're alive. People even fart shortly after death.
Do even movie stars fart?
Yes. Most men take more pride in it than most women. There is a large
variation among individuals in the amount of fart gas produced per day,
the variation does not correlate with gender. I have read that men fart
more often than women. If this is true, then women must be saving it up
expelling more gas per fart than men do.
Do men's farts smell worse than women's farts?
Based on what I have experienced of women's farts, all I can say is that I
At what time of day is a gentleman most likely to fart?
A gentleman is most likely to fart first thing in the morning, while in
bathroom. This is known as "morning thunder," and if the gentleman gets
good resonance, it can be heard throughout the household.
Why are beans so notorious for making people fart?
Beans contain sugars that we humans cannot digest. When these sugars
our intestines, the bacteria go wild, have a big feast, and make lots of
gas! Other notorious fart-producing foods include corn, bell peppers,
cabbage, milk, and raisins. A friend of mine had a dog that was
exceptionally fond of apples and turnips. The dog would eat these things
and then get prodigious gas. A dog's digestive system is not equipped to
handle such vegetable matter, so the dog's bacteria worked overtime to
produce remarkable flatulence.
What things other than diet can make a person fart more than usual?
People who swallow a lot of air fart more than people who don't. This can
be cured somewhat by chewing with your mouth closed. Nervous people with
fast moving bowels will fart more because less air is absorbed out of the
intestines. Some disease conditions can cause excess flatulence. And
up in an airplane or other low- pressure environment can cause the gas
inside you to expand and emerge as flatulence.
Is flatulence really just a burp that comes out the wrong end?
No, a burp emerges from the stomach and has a different chemical
from a fart. Farts have less atmospheric gas content and more bacterial
content than burps.
Is it harmful to hold in farts?
There are differences in opinion on this one. Certainly, people have
believed for centuries that retaining flatulence is bad for the health.
Emperor Claudius even passed a law legalizing farting at banquets out of
concern for people's health. There was a widespread belief that a person
could be poisoned or catch a disease by retaining farts. Doctors I have
spoken to recently have told me that there is no particular harm in
in farts. Farts will not poison a person inasmuch as they are a natural
component of one's intestinal contents. The worst thing that can happen
that one may get abdominal pain from the gas pressure. One doctor has
suggested that pathological distention of the bowel can result from
excessive holding in of farts.
How long would it be possible to not fart?
As I understand it, a captive fart can escape as soon as the person
This means that many people who assiduously refrain from farting during
day do so at great length as soon as they fall asleep. Having been on a
great many overnight field trips, long bus trips, and trans-Pacific
I can personally vouch for the fact that many people do fart voluminously
they doze off. So the answer to the question would be, yes, one can
from farting as long as one can stay awake!
Do all people fart in their sleep?
I have not made a scientific study of this, but I don't think all people
fart in their sleep. I think mainly those who refuse to fart when they're
awake do so when dozing off. For other people, toilet training takes such
strong hold that they let nothing pass their sphincters in sleep. For
people, the gas accumulates in the night and they vent it upon awakening.
Where do farts go when one holds them in?
How often have you held in a fart, intending to release it at the first
appropriate opportunity, only to find that the fart has disappeared when
are ready for it? I asked several doctors where the fart goes. Does it
leak out slowly without the person knowing it? Is it absorbed into the
bloodstream? What happens to it? The doctors agree that the flatus is
neither released nor absorbed. It simply migrates back upward into the
intestine and comes out later. It is reassuring to know that such farts
aren't really lost, but simply delayed.
How can one conceal flatus?
There is a company called Fartypants that sells underwear designed to
the odor of farts. If one should be caught without their Fartypants,
another ploy is to blame the dog or cat, if one should be present, or
complain about how the wind must be blowing from the direction of the
mill. As for the sound... if one is in a large group of people, they
act oblivious and innocent or glance quickly at the person next to them,
if they think that person farted. Other strategies include coughing or
suddenly moving one's chair so that people think that they misheard the
fart. If one is with only one other person, they can act as if nothing
happened, and their companion may believe he/she was mistaken in thinking
they heard a fart.
Is it really possible to ignite farts?
The answer to this question is YES! However, one should be aware that
people get injured igniting flatulence. Not only can the flame back up
one's colon, but their clothing or other surroundings may catch on fire.
survey done by Fartcloud (the site, alas, is no more) indicates that about
quarter of the people who ignited their farts were burned. Ignition of
flatulence is a hazardous practice. However, if you want to try it, and
don't have a friend to light your fart for you, you might find it easier
accomplish the job using the Fartlighter. There have also been cases in
which intestinal gases with a higher than normal oxygen content have
exploded during surgery when electrocautery was used by the surgeon.
Why is it possible to burn farts?
Farts burn because they contain hydrogen and usually methane, both of
are flammable gases. (Hydrogen was the same gas that was used in the
ill-fated Hindenburg dirigible.) Farts tend to burn with a blue or yellow
I hope you found this as educational as I did...Thank you for your
God, I just let go a really bad one...where's that damn dog?
I pedal... Therefore I am.
~ You've got to stand for something, or you'll fall for anything. ~