MadSci Network: Microbiology

Re: Why do feet stink?

Date: Tue Jan 13 18:32:47 1998
Posted By: Mike Crawford, Graduate Student, Genetics
Area of science: Microbiology
ID: 884275954.Mi

Hey there L. Armfield,

Foot odor (bromohydrosis) is thought to be caused by the breakdown of your foot sweat into small, noxious fatty acids by bacteria on your feet. The two major culprits are species of Corynebacteria and Micrococci. I belive that you should be able to grow these guys on petri dishes if you use a rich meida (food source). These include Nutrient Agar and BHI (Bovine Heart Infusion) Agar. I would guess you and your family can get this media the same way that we do, through a company like Difco.

I think it would be a great project to try to inhibit the growth of these bacteria using some of the anti-bacterial foot soaps on the market, perhaps by "zone of inhibition" tests, whereby you put the soap onto a small piece of filter paper in the middle of the petri dish and see how close the bacteria can get to the paper and still grow. If you and your family have any further questions regarding specifics, just write again. As always when working with unknown microorganisms, be sure to at least wash your hands often; even better would be to wear gloves.

The information I found was primarily on the web using "foot odor" as the prompt. Here are couple of the sites:


    Michael Crawford

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