Soylent 2.0 changes color when it goes bad?


#1

So I tried Soylent 2.0 after my unfortunate experiences with powdered Soylent (which, if you don’t want to read that whole thread can be briefly and accurately summarized as “explosive decompression”).

Happily, Soylent 2.0 does not have that problem at all for me and I’ve been enjoying it since release. It definitely delivers on all the original promises of Soylent for me (except cost), and I’m very pleased with it overall.

Something odd happened, though. I took a bottle with me somewhere, drank it, and couldn’t find a place to recycle it, so I screwed the lid back onto the empty and tossed it into my backpack. And forgot about. For several weeks.

When I did find it, I knew it had been long enough that it was going to be scary. And oh boy, was it ever. When I opened the bottle to rinse it out, the smell was horrendous. Which is fine and expected, “left food leftovers out in the warm for weeks and it went rancid” is not a headline, it’s nature.

What I did not expect, however, was that the leftover Soylent inside the bottle had turned BRIGHT fuchsia.

I didn’t get too good a look at it, because I had to clap the lid back on the bottle as quickly as a could to muffle the stench.

Which of the Soylent ingredients would cause something like that? I’ve never seen anything like it!


#2

Probably not the Soylent itself, but whatever started eating your Soylent after you discarded it. Perhaps something like this.

As you say, “nature”.


#3

I was going to say…probably some sort of bacteria.

Feed it to your enemies and report back the results.


#4

On the one hand, that makes sense. On the other hand, where did this exotic bacteria inside come from, if the only thing the bottle came into contact with while it was open was my mouth?

(It seems like all the really brightly colored stuff like that are pretty good at making people sick, so I’m operating under the assumption that my mouth is not full of fuchsia bacteria.)


#5

I got all excited when you brought that up because I just grew some S marcescens a couple weeks ago in microbio lab! Started with a culture that I got from a particularly nasty throat swab(also discovered that I had a strep infection, though too late for treatment since I had incubated the plate for a week and felt better by the time I did my analysis) This species makes bright pink colours when it eats soap! There’s no soap in Soylent, but there are certainly phospholipids that can be digested in a similar manner.

:laughing:This is too funny! Exotic? Bacteria are everywhere, my friend, and there is quite a mess of different species living in your mouth! Being warm, moist, constantly resupplied with fresh foods and air, and relatively mild in pH, it’s prime real estate for many organisms. The contents of the bottle were also exposed to air, which carries an incredible amount of bacteria that have been disturbed from surfaces all around you. I would not be surprised in the slightest to find S marcescens, or any of a variety of other bacteria which produce similar metabolic byproducts, in an open bottle of Soylent.

If there’s enough of it around to make your leftover Soylent bright fuschia, then yes that can certainly make you sick. But in normal environmental colony sizes, even known pathogenic species such as S marcescens are harmless unless your immune system is compromised for whatever reason. I found this species living in my throat, but it isn’t what was making me sick when I took the swab. Streptococcus pyogenes is what gave me strep throat, and that is not a species that would produce brightly colored “stuff”. However, even having a throat infection the amount of S marcescens in the area remained too small to cause any harm, as it doesn’t compete very well with other local flora for resources. You see, having a particular species present doesn’t mean you’ll be sick. It needs the right conditions to really flourish and cause problems. Even S pyogenes would fail to produce a strep infection in most cases(I have tonsil ulcers that make me particularly vulnerable)


#6

You have 5 pounds of bacteria in your stomach. There are 10x more bacterial cells in your body than human cells. Bacteria are also everywhere in the environment, on every surface, and floating through the air. The physical world is permeated with bacteria.


#7

I heard that if you pick up a handful of soil, it contains more bacteria than there are humans on the planet, and we have no idea what 95% of them do.

What worries me is that our universe is actually a bacterium sitting in some cosmically large soil, just waiting for someone to spill some weed killer on us.


#8

As glib (and, I have to say, obvious) as “bacteria are everywhere!” responses are, in several decades of my experience none of them have ever turned my white/grey/beige food bright fuchsia before. Whether or not the cause is bacteria, the effect is (in my experience) completely unique to Soylent 2.0. Hence the inquiry.

Just saying “bacteria, man, they’re everywhere!” is empty handwaving. You may as well just say “Dude, it’s magic!”


#9

Different environments are favourable to different organisms :wink: Food in a fridge would be too cold for the likes of S marcescens to muliply, food left in cupboards usually has plenty of oxygen exposure which promotes other organisms that can easily out-compete S marcescens, and foods that have been exposed to many more sources of contamination than your bottle have a high likelihood of containing organisms that actually consume the pink by-products of S marcescens, so none of the pink would appear. (Note that even though I’m using S marcescens as an example, since I am familiar with it, this would apply to other species with similar metabolic pathways as well) Your Soylent bottle is a pretty different environment from the bad food typically encountered in day-to-day life, since it was sealed and dark for “several weeks” and would have become anaerobic by that point and subject to whatever temperatures your bag was exposed to. Also, it seems like you managed to avoid getting any mold spores in there, or else the mold died out a long while ago; usually mold on food produces visible signs (white/green/black/brown fuzz or slime) long before bacterial colonies become evident.

Try keeping some wet oats in a closed plastic container in your bag for a few weeks and see what happens.


#10

If bacteria were fictional, sure.


#11

It’s not the bacteria that are fictional. It’s the connection between the presence of large amounts of them that don’t create effect X and effect X.

Ignore that and bacteria by their sheer quantity and prevalence become the most likely explanation for everything. Can’t find your keys? Bacteria probably moved them; they were swarming all over them! Had a bad day at work? Bacteria. Sports team lost? Bacteria, crawling all over the field and in all the players!

At some point it’s just calling midi-chlorians “bacteria” and talking about The Force. Magic.

Perhaps Prairiepanda is right. At least he’s got an actual theory and not just magical handwaving. But I don’t think I’m going to be doing the “attempt to culture an extremely large volume of potentially dangerous bacteria in my backpack” test, so we may never know for sure. :confused:


#12

I’m not the only person who had to look up “fuchsia” to find out what that color is, am I?

(It’s a deep, vivid red.)


#13

Don’t feel bad, I probably only know it because I happen to grow fuchsia (the color) fuchsia (the plant). :smile:


#14

This should be easy to replicate.

If several people who are drinking 2.0 just leave a little bit in the bottom and then place in a cabinet for a few days they can test to see if this happens to Solyent 2.0 consistently or if something strange happened with your bottle.

You could do multiple tests, checking some bottles after a few days and let others sit longer before testing them.

One factor could be temperature. How hot was it where the OP lives and what conditions was the back pack kept in (i.e. was it left in a hot car for weeks?)


#15

In a few days, I’d only expect to see mold. Would probably smell bacterial byproducts by then, but wouldn’t expect visual evidence since there are so many different species competing/interacting. Need to give it time to become a very extreme environment where only certain types of organisms will continue to thrive. How many weeks was the original bottle left? The question of temperature is a good one to bring up as well, as that will also have a significant effect on the outcome.


#16

I left a few “empty” (unrinsed) bottles alone for a week or two (for science!). The first few bottles hadn’t grown anything. BUT THE LAST BOTTLE! It looked like it was full of white cotton candy when I checked it. I was planning on taking a picture, but it kind of freaked me out, because at that point I was expecting nothing. I’m not a very good scientist. :grimacing:

Whatever it was (mold?) couldn’t withstand some hot water. It looked kind of like a bottle full of this stuff:


#17

Yep, that’s a mold! A week or two really isn’t long enough for the extreme effects we’re interested in here, though. Typical mold, like you found, and bad smells would be about it. Mold would occur pretty often but not in every case as mold really doesn’t spread as easily as bacteria. Bacteria obviously would appear in every bottle, but the ones left for just a short time like yours would just get a bad smell(and taste/texture, if anyone were brave enough to try), if they avoided mold. For there to be enough of one specific species to produce such a pronounced effect as described by jdw, we need enough time to have passed that the accumulated bacterial waste created a substrate toxic or at least very difficult to grow on for most other species, and presumably to eliminate or severely reduce oxygen within the bottle which would further reduce interspecies competition. I bet if we took a swab from the fuschia bottle and incubated it in many ways(different media, different oxygen exposures, different temperatures, etc.) we would only find a small number of different species living in there, one or two of which being responsible for the colour. If there was a normal amount of diversity in there, I wouldn’t expect more than maybe just a pale pink hue. Bright fuchsia tells me that there isn’t much competition going on.