September 17, 2012
Armpit Cheese — It IS what you think
Wrote Kevin Kelly: "Some cheeses may originally have come from bacteria on our skin, inoculated while handling milk. Now some adventuresome synthetic biologists have been making their own armpit cheese and toe-jam cheese [pictured above], in part to explore the ecosystem of natural microbial life on (and in) our bodies. Daisy Armpit Cheese is one of several experiments. From Your Wild Life:
Turns out the "cheesy" odor of sweat is due to a microbiological similarity between our skin and cheese. The more we looked, the more we found; there are studies on how Limburger cheese bacteria are so close to foot bacteria that you can trick mosquitoes that preferentially bite human feet into landing on Limburger cheese instead.
This inspired us to want to make our own cheese using bacteria that we isolated from our own skin, and we made the first batch in the lab during our residency about a year and half ago. We swabbed between toes, under armpits, and in mouths and noses, and put the bacteria in milk. The metabolism of the bacteria produced acids that curdled the milk (this is how real cheese is made, but with a much more controlled starting population of Lactobacillus). The cheeses that we made by straining these curds were all really different, with different colors and textures and smells.
Attention Gene Weingarten: You're gonna want to jump on this train.
[via Richard Kashdan]
September 17, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink
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Read a comment some time ago that someone made to the effect that cheese is the most disgusting food. It's finally true.
Posted by: Halloween Jack | Sep 25, 2012 5:42:09 PM
In college I did a play by Vaclav Havel (former Czech president) called Temptation. One character remarked about the other that his feet smelled like Limburger cheese. Being a slightly misguided method actor, the young man playing that character decided to put Limburger into his shoes each night, much to the dismay of the guy that had to share his dressing room. Now I understand the reference, and the power of Limburger.
Posted by: tamra | Sep 17, 2012 1:25:44 PM
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