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Natural World

Goldfish are able to create their own alcohol

August 14, 2017 | Comment icon 9 comments

Goldfish under the ice are also under the influence. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Pogrebnoj-Alexandroff
Scientists have discovered how goldfish are able to survive for months in ice-covered ponds and lakes.
While humans are only able to last for a few minutes without oxygen, goldfish have evolved a remarkable ability that enables them to last months in water that has completely frozen over.

The exact mechanism behind this has long remained a bit of a mystery, but now a new study has revealed, for the first time, exactly what it is that keeps the fish alive for such a long time.

The answer, it turns out, is alcohol.
Normally when an animal is starved of oxygen it experiences a build-up of lactic acid which proves fatal if they are unable to get rid of it. To solve this problem, goldfish have developed the ability to convert this lactic acid in to alcohol so that it can be safely dispersed through the gills.

The longer they are starved of oxygen, the more intoxicated the fish become.

"If you measure them in the field the blood alcohol goes up above 50mg per 100 millilitres, which is the drink-drive limit in Scotland and northern European countries," said Dr Michael Berenbrink.

"So they are really 'under the influence'."

Source: BBC News | Comments (9)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by third_eye 4 years ago
Now if some genius can find a way to bottle it ... kachink-a -ling-a-ling
Comment icon #2 Posted by Matt221 4 years ago
My alcoholic goldfish thinks he's a big old koi when he's had to much
Comment icon #3 Posted by lightly 4 years ago
Are they producing the alcohol in thier systems...or sneaking it in? They all drink like fish and you just can't trust them. '
Comment icon #4 Posted by Why not 4 years ago
I can produce my own alcohol too. Been doing it for years. Although I've cut back quite a bit the last 10 years or so.
Comment icon #5 Posted by OverSword 4 years ago
No need. Just freeze a few and the longer their frozen the higher the alcohol level. After a few months of aging just swallow them whole and catch a nice buzz.
Comment icon #6 Posted by third_eye 4 years ago
I think I got just the video clip for ya .. ~ [00.03:16] ~
Comment icon #7 Posted by Atomical 4 years ago
They should open a bar!
Comment icon #8 Posted by quiXilver 4 years ago
utterly incredible. and all done with a brain the size of a grain of rice...
Comment icon #9 Posted by smokeycat 4 years ago
And they say that Goldfish only have a three second memory span. Now we know why...

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