Clues to why most survived China melamine scandal
WASHINGTON (AP) - Scientists wondering why some children and not others survived one of China's worst food safety scandals have uncovered a suspect: germs that live in the gut.
In 2008, at least six babies died and 300,000 became sick after being fed infant formula that had been deliberately and illegally tainted with the industrial chemical melamine. There were some lingering puzzles: How did it cause kidney failure, and why wasn't everyone equally at risk? A team of researchers from the United States and China re-examined those questions in a series of studies in rats.
In findings released on Wednesday, they reported that certain intestinal bacteria play a crucial role in how the body handles melamine.
The intestines of all mammals teem with different species of bacteria that perform different jobs. To see if one of those activities involves processing melamine, researchers from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Shanghai Jiao Tong University gave lab rats antibiotics to kill off some of the germs - and then fed them melamine.