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A Day in the Life of a Poop Donor

If you've ever wondered about the donors behind fecal transplants, CNN sheds light on one such person, Eric a 24-year old research assistant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology whose 29 donations have resulted in 133 treatments. 

The roughly three-minute video introduces us to Eric who wakes up one day declaring "Today is the big day," though it's unclear what he exactly means by that. He treks his way across the Boston area, passing "countless toilets" for a half-hour without using any until he reaches a facility at OpenBiome, a feces biobank, where he makes his deposit, which the company will use to develop into a fecal transplant treatment. 

The video describes how poop is used to develop a fecal transplant. First, not anyone can donate their poop. About 97 percent of potential donors are rejected because they've traveled to certain places, or have recently used antibiotics, or have gotten a tattoo, among other reasons. 

And not just any poop will do, either. An illustrated chart in OpenBiome's lab describes the seven types of poop ranging from "separate hard lumps" to "entirely liquid" poop. Fecal matter that is too dry or too soft is not suitable, but Eric's sample, which is type 5, "soft blobs with clear-cut edges" is good. 

After a sample is deemed proper, a saline solution is added to the mix and fibrous material is filtered out. What results is a "liquid teeming with bacteria," that will be administered either by a colonoscopy or through a tube traveling from a recipient's nose to the intestine. Once the fecal transplant has been delivered, the healthy microbes from the donor's poop "will sort of chase out the sick microbes that the patient has." 

In the final shot Eric ponders his work, which is stored at minus-113 degrees Fahrenheit. 

"I never thought I'd be staring at my poop frozen in a freezer destined to help people across the country," he says. "That's really cool."