The sweet smell of success

stinky w

It was as far back as issue 11 when we first regaled readers with tales of one of China’s most unloved spaces: the public toilet. Anybody who has visited one won’t forget the experience. So there was good news this week from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, reports the South China Morning Post. Researchers with the institution say they have developed a new “bioweapon” capable of wiping out bad smells in public toilets.

Having laboured on the problem for several years – conducting tests on pig intestines – the researchers claim that a bacteria in the Lactobacillus family can remove up to 75% of odour from human waste. How? It feeds on the waste and releases lactic acid that eliminates the growth of smelly bacteria.

Jiuzhai Valley National Park in Sichuan will trial the bacterial fix. If it meets with the approval of tourists, the China Academy of Sciences claims it can ratchet up production to 1,200 tonnes annually, at a cost of Rmb20 ($3.22) per half litre.

Bravo, says WiC. But wait, there is a catch. The bacteria only thrives at temperatures above 26 degrees Celcius, so it won’t work in the winter, unless the toilets are heated (and few of China’s public bogs are).

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