Glow-in-the-dark meat stumps bacteria boffins
August 16 2000 at 07:25PM

Bacteriologists at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute in Pretoria are baffled as to what is causing
chunks of meat to glow and astound villagers in the Northern Province.

Bacteriology division head Dr Maryke Henton said on Wednesday that this was the first case of its kind
she had investigated, and that something in either the meat or the salt used to cure it could have caused it to glow.

She said numerous bacteria had been found in the meat, but test results were expected only next week.

The meat was taken to the institute after the first case was reported two weeks ago.

Northern Province police had taken it from an alarmed pensioner and handed it to Louis Trichardt veterinarian
Dr Peter Loock, who sent it to Onderstepoort.

The pensioner had bought the meat after collecting her money at a pension payout point near Thohoyandou.

Alilali Mulaudzi, 76, then rubbed salt in it and put in on her roof in Lwamondo village to cure.
That night it began to glow. She took it to the police because she was afraid she would be labelled a witch.

Last week, Jackson Phalanndwa, 63, of Makhuvha village, also near Thohoyandou, had the same experience a
fter buying two chunks of meat from separate butchers.

He salted the meat and put it on his roof, only to wake up at 3am and find it glowing. Police confiscated the meat.

Villagers have begun speculating about omens, miracles and curses. Some say cattle owners might have developed
methods to make stolen meat glow to frighten off robbers.

Others say sangomas working for butchers make the meat glow if customers haven't settled their debt.
Scientists hope to reveal the truth next week. -