Cow Goes Moo

I think you’ll agree with me when I say: “Cow farms smell insanely bad!”Stepping into a wooden building (usually the red ones), smelling the mix of fresh straw, festering manure, and spoiled saliva. If you’re not used toit, it’s not exactly a great start to a day, muchless an end to a laborious one. The first time we visited Kentland Farms, as our tour guide introduced us to the calves, there was a multitude of smelly dust billowing out at us.It got in our clothes, our bags, and our eyes, at which point many people started to keep their distance from the barn.BUT are these smells worth your while? Only a very small percentage of people know that a large contributor to the exquisite smell of dairy farms is a large number of endotoxins released through the collection of bacteria, specifically those involved in decomposition. Why would we ever want to breathe in a compound that has “toxin” in its own name?Well yes, large amounts of endotoxins are extremely harmful to any living organism, and humans are no exception.This particular type of endotoxin, however, elicits an immune system response similar to that ofdust, but instead of constricting our airways, we release a compound called A20. This enzyme provides us with temporary protection against pollen and dust allergies, and in some cases, even asthma (Danovich, 2015). Please, please, please do NOT go to your local dairy farm, set up camp there for the next decade, and start inhaling as much saturated air as possible. Everything has positive elements and negative ones, so not only will you look like a complete idiot and probably get banned from going there ever again, but you’ll also get sick after inhaling it for 10 to 20 years.As with any type of foreign substance, your body needs time to construct a response (HopkinsMedicine). The immune system is simply not built to handle a large outbreak of very distinctive smelling toxins, so if you introduce a large amount suddenly… Well, we don’t know what other particles might be lurking in there. So what can we, as a community, do to help refine this cow dust into a cure for allergies?

-jh

Citations:Danovich, T. (2015, September 8). It May Not SmellGreat, but Dust From DairyFarms Could Have Health Benefits. takepart. http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/09/08/farm-dust-health-benefitsJohns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). The Immune System.Hopkins Medicine.https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/the-immune-system

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