Giant pandas are known for their voracious appetite for bamboo, but these furry mammals are actually meant to eat meat.
That’s at least according to a new study published in the journal mBio®,
which details how the gut bacteria of giant pandas are not the type for
efficiently digesting bamboo. Instead, they boast a carnivore-like gut
microbiota predominated by bacteria such as Escherichia/Shigella and Streptococcus, a team of Chinese researchers says.
“Unlike other plant-eating animals that have successfully evolved,
anatomically specialized digestive systems to efficiently deconstruct
fibrous plant matter, the giant panda still retains a gastrointestinal
tract typical of carnivores,” lead study author Zhihe Zhang, director of
the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, China, said in a press release.
“The animals also do not have the genes for plant-digesting enzymes in
their own genome. This combined scenario may have increased their risk
Elora Hardy left a successful career in the NY fashion scene to build bamboo houses in Indonesia. The Bali resident and her team have spent the last 5 years revolutionizing bamboo construction in the belief that it is an underused but ideal renewable resource. Hardy uses boron, which occurs naturally in nature, to treat the bamboo and make it indigestible to insects.