NYU Biologists Explore The Science Behind Farts

Bridget Mulroy

NYU Fart StudyPhoto by(@hoozone/iStock)

Following a deep dive a couple of weeks ago exploring the reasoning behind why some farts are louder and stinkier than others, the overflowing curiosity inspired a deeper dive. What else could a person’s farts be trying to signal?

The most recent and relevant study was conducted by three biology professors at New York University. They've made connections between flatulence and mental health, a fart’s capability of spreading viruses, and so many more interesting fart factors!

A connection has been made between frequent farting and depression! According to a research team that weighed in with the study team in New York City, excessive flatulence is linked to Major Depressive Disorder. When people are stuck in a negative thought pattern, they’re likely to be simultaneously stuck in a negative fart pattern. Researchers advise sufferers to not keep things bottled up – pun intended!

Regarding a fart’s ability to carry viruses, (since farts contain fecal matter and viruses such as COVID have been detected in feces,) one documentation shows:

“• The SARS-CoV-2 virus can be detected in fecal matter, even among asymptomatic individuals. And unfortunately, fecal matter can be found in farts, which are aerosol-generating events (like coughs and sneezes). So that’s the hypothesized pathway…

• However, in 2001, a gassy pantless scientist farted into a petri dish to see if bacteria would grow, and sure enough clumps of bacteria did develop. But never fear, when the same scientist was wearing pants and farted directly into a separate petri dish, no bacteria grew. While this study was conducted long before COVID-19 was a concern, it provides some relief that the risk of catching COVID-19 from a fart is overblown, so to speak.

• To date, there is no evidence that traces of feces passed in gas is responsible for the transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19.” – Dear Pandemic





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Hi, I’m Bridget. I’m based in Red Bank, New Jersey, Calabasas, California, & Manhattan, New York. I cover geology, seismology, botany, biology, & community news. USGS Verified ✅

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