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August 11, 1917


JAMA. 1917;LXIX(6):472. doi:10.1001/jama.1917.02590330056017

The prevalence of micro-organisms in the alimentary canal is a well recognized feature of the manifestations of the digestive functions. It is generally known that much of the dry matter of the feces consists of the bodies of bacteria, most of which are dead. How large a contribution to the excrement is furnished by those micro-organisms that have found their way into the alimentary tract, or have been developed within it, cannot readily be estimated. As might be expected from the varying nature of the diet of adults, carrying with it quite unlike amounts of indigestible matter, the admixture of bacterial bodies must be widely different under different regimens. When one reads, in the textbooks, that probably about one third of the dry substance in the stools of normal adults is bacteria, it must be borne in mind that the statistics reported by different investigators range from 9 to 42

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