To fart or not to fart: that is the question.

By Seriously Science | May 20, 2013 12:00 pm

Photo: flickr/sbamueller

Smelly farts on airplanes: we’ve all been there, either as the producer or the consumer (or often both). Unfortunately, little attention has been paid in the literature to this all-too-common phenomenon…until now. We can’t tell whether these authors are being totally serious or not, but either way, we think their suggestion for how to deal with the issue of smelly farts on airplanes is a pretty good one.

Flatulence on airplanes: just let it go.

“Flatus is natural and an invariable consequence of digestion, however at times it creates problems of social character due to sound and odour. This problem may be more significant on commercial airplanes where many people are seated in limited space and where changes in volume of intestinal gases, due to altered cabin pressure, increase the amount of potential flatus. Holding back flatus on an airplane may cause significant discomfort and physical symptoms, whereas releasing flatus potentially presents social complications. To avoid this problem we humbly propose that active charcoal should be embedded in the seat cushion, since this material is able to neutralise the odour. Moreover active charcoal may be used in trousers and blankets to emphasise this effect. Other less practical or politically correct solutions to overcome this problem may be to restrict access of flatus-prone persons from airplanes, by using a methane breath test or to alter the fibre content of airline meals in order to reduce its flatulent potential. We conclude that the use of active charcoal on airlines may improve flight comfort for all passengers.”

Related content:
NCBI ROFL: Which makes you gassier: pinto beans, black-eyed peas, or baked beans?
NCBI ROFL: Beans, beans, the musical fruit…
NCBI ROFL: Finding the frequency of Fido’s farts

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Seriously, Science?

Seriously, Science?, formerly known as NCBI ROFL, is the brainchild of two prone-to-distraction biologists. We highlight the funniest, oddest, and just plain craziest research from the PubMed research database and beyond. Because nobody said serious science couldn't be silly!
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