Scientists Finally Know What's In Your Pee

Some 3K compounds from 230 chemical classes

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 8, 2013 8:56 AM CDT | Updated Sep 8, 2013 3:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – Ever wondered what makes up your pee? OK, well, 20 researchers at the University of Alberta did, and they've spent the last seven years developing a urinalysis or—put simply—an encyclopedia of pee. They've made an interesting discovery, too; Medical textbooks may now need to add an extra zero to the chapter on urine, Popular Science reports, which currently lists between 50 and 100 chemical compounds found in pee. This newest PLoS One study says that number is more like 3,000, all of which you can now peruse using a free database.

"Urine is an incredibly complex biofluid. We had no idea there could be so many different compounds going into our toilets," one scientist said. Some 1,453 come from the body, 2,282 from diet, drugs, cosmetics, and environmental exposure, and 72 are made by bacteria, LiveScience reports, noting the compounds make up 230 different chemical classes. Before you start wondering what seven years better spent might look like, knowing about urine can help us understand more about how our bodies and our effects on waste management systems, notes Popular Science. Urine tests could also screen for celiac disease, pneumonia, and even cancer. (Click for another fascinating discovery also involving excretion.)

On Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010, research technician Carole Glavicich mixes urine samples at the National Scientific Research Institute in Laval, Quebec.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Graham Hughes)
Urine samples are seen at China Anti-Doping Agency, Monday, June 30, 2008, in Beijing.   (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
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