Biologists found that the male penguin king kept the undigested food stored in his stomach fresh for up to three weeks. This ability of penguins provides food security for their cubs not to go hungry. But why penguin’s stomach has such “talent” has been a mystery.
Biologists believe that an antibacterial agent produced in the digestive system of penguins can kill bacteria and keep food fresh.
In the cold Antarctic, when bad weather delays the female penguins from bringing food home, the male penguins feed the young penguins with the food they “store” in their stomach. Cecil Soze of the National Research Institute in Strasbourg, France, said that experiments on seven male penguins on Poseidon island in Antarctica showed that the temperature and pH value in their stomach were ideal for the growth of bacteria, but why could the food in their stomach be kept fresh?
Penguins usually eat high protein fish and squid. They can produce rich gastrointestinal microorganisms. However, when Soze tested the food samples stored in the penguin stomach, he found that there were many dead or inactive and abnormal bacteria in the food, which were much more than the dead, abnormal and inactive bacteria in the penguin food samples digesting the food.
Therefore, Soze believes that penguins may use acrylic acid produced by marine phytoplankton to eliminate bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.