Rabbit food soaks up sex hormones
New evidence shows bunny bites may help other animals with reproductive issues.
Thu, Nov 04, 2010 at 12:57 PM
Estrogen in our waterways is a major environmental problem. Too much estrogen in the water adversely influences our hormones, often causing fertility issues for many. Meanwhile, rabbits are legends of reproduction. A mature rabbit, usually eight months old, can produce 10 to 30 offspring a year. In a strange twist, new evidence shows that rabbit food can actually decrease estrogen levels in the water. As Discovery News reports, researchers from the University of Cincinnati have shown that rabbit food reduces the presence of estrogen in contaminated water up to 80 percent.
Synthetic and naturally-occurring estrogen is the primary female sex hormone. It has become almost omnipresent in the waters due to population expansion and the use of birth control pills. This affects both males and females of all species by reducing fertility. Males are feminized, sexual organs are malformed, and sex ratios are skewed. It is thought to disrupt the endocrine systems of birds, reptiles, fish and more living in rivers, lakes and oceans surrounding cities.
University of Cincinnati researchers set out to determine if anything could be used to easily absorb the hormones. They tested clay, caseins (found in dairy,) amino acids and starch. Makram Suidan is the lead researcher on the project. As he writes in the study, a simple combination of organic vegetable waste (rabbit food) proved to be the best product to absorb estrogen out of the water.
After 72 hours of contact, the rabbit food reduced hormone levels in water by up to 80 percent. According to Suidan, "We are now experimenting to find out, specifically, why the rabbit food proved so effective in reducing estrogen levels. Rabbit food was a material we chose because, unlike dog food, rabbit food is hormone free. Rabbit food is merely ground up, organic vegetable matter - not unlike vegetable matter that could safely be added to wastewater."
It is believed that the oxygen present in the water helped the rabbit food to absorb the hormone. Hopes are that vegetable matter may be used to clear the waterways of damaging estrogen.
The researchers also tested rabbit food, caseins and more to see if they had any influence on testosterone levels in the water. However, they were found to be ineffective against the male hormone.
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