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Humans digest rotten food in hyena-inspired scenario

Signal of change / Humans digest rotten food in hyena-inspired scenario

By Futures Centre / 13 Feb 2015
Temple Travels / Flickr

A student of the Royal College of Art has imagined how synthetic biology could be used to modify the human body so it can consume and digest rotten food. Taking cues from the non-fussy eating habits of scavenging hyenas, Paul Gong's idea involves the creation of new human-hyena bacteria that could live in the human digestive system.

"I imagine trans-humanists, DIYBio enthusiasts and makers coming together to form a group known as 'Human Hyenas', who want to tackle the increasingly serious problem of food wastage," Gong told Dezeen magazine.

The bacteria could be ingested using a device shaped like a smoking pipe, which Gong calls the 'Hyena Inhaler'.

So what?

This brings a new dimension to the circular economy for food. Could modified stomachs help us eliminate food waste? There's a palatability issue to overcome first. Could the combination of expired food with fresher and more flavoursome ingredients help us to overcome the distaste?


What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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