Fountain of poop?


Summary: Turquoise Killfish (Nothobranchius furzeri)  have one of the shortest lifespans on vertebrates on earth, reaching sexual maturity at just 3 weeks old and dying within a matter of months. It was found that old Killfish that consumed feces from a younger Killfish would live up to 45% longer than expected because of the microbes in the younger fish’s feces.

Connections:  In class, we talked about fecal transplantation in humans  as a way to treat diseases and disorders. This is a very similar concept. The older fish are receiving microbes from the younger fish’s feces to extend their lifespan.

Critical analysis:  I found this article very interesting because of the application of human fecal transplantation. It is a very similar process, but is occurring naturally in these fish populations. I would like to know more about the specific processes and microbes involved and how that would, in fact, increase the lifespan of the fish. The article does not go into much detail in that respect.

Question:  Could something similar to this occur in humans? Would you consider a fecal transplant to extend your life? What are the specific microbes involved in this process and how do that actually extend lifespan


4 Comments for “Fountain of poop?”



It seems incredible that these fishes can extend their lifespan by almost double just by acquiring bacteria from other fishes. I know that in humans the microbiome can be passed on from mother to offspring, I wonder why that is not the case in fish.



Fecal transplants are very common, especially to treat C. diff. Sometimes patients have been on such an abundance of antibiotics that they are killing the “good” bacteria in their digestive tract and need some to replace it. However those patients usually are in dire need of a transplant or they may die. It’s a curious question to see if healthy individuals would receive a fecal transplant for a few more years of life. I’m not sure if I could do it, but I’m sure there are some who will jump on the chance!



Hilarious title! This article was really interesting; I had never even heard of such a species. I think it’s pretty surreal that fecal matter can actually be introduced from a donor to patients to help with CDI’s with no reported side effects. As far as using this procedure to extend my life…. ehhh, as long as I am not deathly ill, I see no reason to live beyond what would be my natural life span. But it definitely is an interesting thought.



This article was super interesting!! :DD Usually fecal transplantation causes more negative outcomes than positive but I guess this doesn’t really apply to these guys. I agree with you on your critical analysis part. I’m also wondering which microbes allow the old killfish to outlive its life-span and I’m also wondering about potential negative aspects of eating fecal matter for killfish