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Department of Pathology


A goat milk company is examining customers' gut health through its poo post-box scheme.

Ceredigion-based Chuckling Goat has gone from selling its goat milk-based Kefir to launching a microbiome test kit with the University of Cambridge.

"We basically examine everything that's happening inside the microbiome," said co-founder Shann Jones.

It comes as one industry expert claims Wales has a "huge" opportunity to grow into the £2.8 billion health tech sector. Ms Jones said that the ability to do a gut health test in "the privacy and comfort of your own home has changed everything".

Fermented foods, such as Kefir, contain a variety of "good" bacteria, which can benefit our health if they can survive the journey to our gut.


"When we saw that there was a microbiome test available that gave us an evidence-based starting point to improve people's gut health, I was excited because I thought this would make my job a lot easier," she said.


The company, based in Brynhoffnant, Ceredigion, spent two years and £250,000 developing the microbiome test kit with the University of Cambridge.

Customers order the kit online and then send off a stool sample to the laboratories in the Department of Pathology.


"We give you answers about how you can improve your gut health from day one," Ms Jones added.


'We have a little poo post box.'


At Cambridge, the stool samples are analysed by Dr Anton Enright and his team of scientists, who work to discover what bacteria live in each gut.

"We have a little poo post box... so the kits come in [and] the team will work through 20 or 30 samples and get to the bacterial DNA," he said.

After that is processed in a DNA sequencer, Dr Enright and his team receive "lists of bacteria and how many times they've been seen".

Chuckling Goat then uses this data to determine what product they can recommend to help with any health issues their customers might be living with.


According to Dr Rhodri Griffiths from the Life Sciences Hub Wales, it will benefit economically and health.


"Technologies are now coming into health and offer huge potential to be able to keep people more at home, to reduce the need for hospital care," he said.

"It's not only beneficial to the public's health. There's also an economic benefit, with the life sciences industry worth £2.8bn to the Welsh economy in 2022.

"This market is worth billions worldwide and is growing every year. So there's an opportunity to be able to take technologies from elsewhere and adopt them within Wales."



The BBC Wales originally published this article, which can be read here.