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News Link • Biology, Botany and Zoology

What's In Your Pee?

•, By Dan Nosowitz
It took seven years and 20 researchers, but a team at the University of Alberta have finally, using all available state-of-the-art equipment, figured out the chemical composition of human urine. This also means there's a good chance that somebody has replied to the question "so what do you do?" with "I've been looking at urine for the past seven years."

According to David Wishart, the senior scientist on the project, medical textbooks list anywhere from 50-100 chemical compounds in urine, and standard urine tests (like when you pee into a cup to test for drug use) only check for six or seven compounds. But this study used nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, gas chromatography, mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography to find over 3,000 different chemical compounds.

Even better, the project has resulted in a freely available database of all these compounds, which will be updated as new technology reveals more compounds.

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