Rabbits: not as bad as you thought

It is OK to Pat the Bunny

Contrary to what I may have reported earlier about the dangers of Rabbititis, all may not be dismal in the Lagomorph family. There are of course benefits to having rabbits around, but recent research makes things even rosier! Intestinal flora isolated from common rabbits appears to have profound probiotic benefits when added to food. Now, it is not sufficient to just eat rabbit meat, although that is a useful dietary supplement famously pointed out in this film.

According to a recent publication, rabbits are the natural host for Bifidobacterium, a class of bacteria also found in humans. Bifidobacteria are ubiquitously distributed anaerobes that are important components of the food industry, and according to Wikipedia

Bifidobacterium are known to inhibit the growth of Gram-negative pathogens in infants [citation needed]

This leads me to offer recommendation for Micro students: let’s all bring our rabbits back into our houses, and make ourselves healthy again with rabbit poop. I’ve talked about the health-benefits of fecal transplants on this forum before, but let’s face it that’s pretty disgusting. Humans can carry all sorts of nasty pathogens that are extremely well adapted to survive in the human body. Consequently, human to human fecal transplants are going to carry the highest risk of adverse disease. Rabbit to human transplants on the other hand would be far safer. Think about it: a quick milkshake for breakfast from your bunny, get a quick fix of probiotic yumminess, then these not perfectly adapted microbes would be gradually eliminated as our own normal flora outgrow the rabbit microbes.


About ycpmicro

My name is David Singleton, and I am an Associate Professor of Microbiology at York College of Pennsylvania. My main course is BIO230, a course taken by allied-health students at YCP. Views on this site are my own.

Posted on April 1, 2012, in Kill the wabbit! and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Apparently plenty of Monty Python and the Holy Grail fans; “Holy Hand Grenade” is in the lead.

    “Oh Lord, bless us this thy hand grenade”

  2. Why would the Bifidobacterium inhibit gram negative pathogens in infants only? With the exception of development and size, our bodies work the same.

    • This was an April Fool’s joke; the Bifidobacterium quote really came from Wikipedia, but you’ll note that in Wikipedia they included “citation needed,” otherwise it is just an unsubstantiated statement.

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