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Panda power

Stashed in: Pandas!, Science!, Scatology, Energy!, Mississippi

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Microbes from panda guts could revolutionize biofuels. Who says they are useless piebald buffoons?

Yeah Mississippi yeah!!

Although the animal has a digestive tract that is much shorter than that of other herbivores, microbes in its gut are efficient enough to extract a meal from bamboo.

Researchers are working to harness panda microbes to create biofuels. Using dung samples collected from zoos, Ashli Brown, a biochemist at Mississippi State University, and her colleagues are growing panda-gut flora in the lab, hoping to gain a better understanding of how the microbes work.

There are some hurdles. Because the giant panda is endangered, scientists cannot experiment on the animal itself to find out more about its digestive processes. They have only the poop. "So little is known, it's hard to simulate," said Candace Williams, a graduate student involved in the research.

Science needs to work to simulate the pandic digestive track!!

I wonder if a key to the puzzle is that Pandas CAN eat meat but CHOOSE to eat bamboo.

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