Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

Additional Resources for you to Explore
Did you know that hippos are vegetarian? The river hippopotamus spends it's days in the water, and emerges in the evening to forage plants on land. Hippos aren't very selective in the plants they eat. Their blunt teeth, flat snout and wide straight lips enable them to graze close to the soil surfaces, which means besides eating grass, roots and fruit they digest alot of dirt! It's possible that eating all that dirt helps their digestion by colonizing their gut with wide variety of microbes. No mammals have the enzyme (cellulase) necessary to break down  plant cellulose. Ungulates, like cows, sheep, and hippos, completely depend upon the microbial species present in their gut to digest cellulose.  It is estimated that 1 mL of their gut contents contains 10-50 billion bacteria, 1 million protozoa and several yeasts, fungi. It's the byproducts of these microbes that generate all the gas. But without this ecosystem of helpful microbes in their guts, hippo's would not be able to survive. Here is a great Chemical Engineering problem set about Hippo Digestion. It was inspired by this article: Eric D. Carlson, and Alice P. Gast. "Animal Guts as Ideal Reactors", Chemical Engineering Education, Winter 1998, pp 24-29 Hippos are not the only ones who's survival depends on micro-organisms in their gut.  Humans do too.  Did you know that inside humans there are more microbial cells then human cells?  We are literally a walking sac of microbes!  Check out this TED talk by Jonathan Eisen: Meet Your Microbes Many doctors are beginning to use human fecal transplants (putting feces from a healthy person into the intestine of a sick person) to cure severe intestinal infections. The Human Microbiome is a fascinating emerging field in science and medicine. 10 Ways the Human Micribiome Project could change the Future of Science and Medicine
What else can we do with farts to save the planet? How about converting farts into electricity!?!
Contributor small
Lesson Creator
Berkeley, CA, United States