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To donate, Eric had to pass a 109-point clinical assessment.There is a laundry list of factors that would disqualify a donor: obesity, illicit drug use, antibiotic use, travel to regions with high risk of contracting diseases, even recent tattoos.The perfect poop is type three, which is "like a sausage but with cracks on its surface;" type four, which is "like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft;" or type five, "soft blobs with clear-cut edges (passed easily)."Maybe it was the hot sauce he used on his quinoa and cheddar cheese casserole last night, or the banana and peanut butter he ate with a bowl of bran flakes and almond milk for breakfast, but Eric's stool is type five, just barely acceptable for processing.Kim scoops the feces into a clear plastic bag and adds a saline solution."They'll actually have this really transformational experience where they'll be going to the bathroom 20 times a day and then have normal bowel movements sort of immediately or the next day," Smith says.At Open Biome's lab, technician Christina Kim, working under a fume hood that sucks up odors, pulls the lid off Eric's collection bucket and demonstrates how she turns poop into the life-saving treatment.
And that, unlike most people's poop, makes Eric's worth money.
On average, one stool donation fills four, but today Eric's impressive half-pound sample fills seven. The bacteria inside them is still alive, cryogenically preserved at -112°F. Open Biome usually invites about 50 people for interviews every week."It's easier to get into MIT and Harvard than it is to get enrolled as one of our donors," Smith says.