The Loh Down On Science

Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh, The Loh Down on Science is a fun way to get your daily dose of science plus a dash of humor in less than two minutes. Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh

Super Pants

by The Loh Down On Science

The power of red pants revealed

Was the REAL secret to Superman's strength his bright red skivvies?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science

and on a red dye with powers that are out of this world.

The dye is called "prodiginine" and it's produced PRODIGIOUSLY by a tiny bacteria that lives in the muck at the bottom of ponds.

It can dye wool, silk and - fortunately for superheros - spandex.

Microbiologists from the University of California at Davis discovered the dye while collecting pond sediment samples. They noticed an intensely crimson colony of goo, and took a bit back to their lab to check it out.

Tests showed that the prodiginine not only made a great natural dye, but it also killed some HARMFUL bacteria, including E. coli, which causes food poisoning and other illnesses.

Fabric dyed with prodiginine could discourage bacteria from growing on socks, undergarments, even the gowns used in hospitals.

Also, it can substitute for conventional dyes, which are mostly made from petroleum products.

Plus, the best part of bright red bikini underpants? They're funny! So important in this day and age.

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