"There is a truly excellent book on food science written by Harold
McGee called On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the
Kitchen. Mr. McGee's book is vast in scope and interesting on every
page. There is one peculiar essay in the chapter on legumes called
"The Problems of Legumes and Flatulence" that lends itself
particularly well to the gas laws.
We are indebted to high-altitude aircraft flight and the space
program for the recent spate of interest in flatulence. After World
War II, it appeared that intestinal gas might prove a serious problem
for test pilots. The volume of a given amount of gas increases as the
pressure surrounding it decreases. This means that a pilot's
intestinal gas will expand as he flies higher into the atmosphere in
an unpressurized cockpit. At 35,000 feet, for example, the volume will
be 5.4 times what it would be at sea level. The resulting distention
could cause substantial pain.... So the word went out across the land:
McGee, Harold. "The Problems of Legumes and Flatulence." On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. New York: Fireside, 1984: 257-58.
Pfeiffer, C.J. "Gastroenterological Aspects of Manned Space Flight." Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Vol. 150 (1968): 40-48.