The Search for Microbiomal Scents

Finger tip. Thursday. Dominated by moulds.

Finger tip. Thursday. Dominated by moulds.

Finger tip. Wednesday. Dominated by the soil bacterium Bacillus mycoides. A colony from my microbiome is producing an antibiotic that inhibits the growth of this bacterium and produces a zone of no growth.

Finger tip. Wednesday. Dominated by the soil bacterium Bacillus mycoides. A colony from my microbiome is producing an antibiotic that inhibits the growth of this bacterium and produces a zone of no growth.

Feet

Feet

Smell can evoke the richest of memories, and through this sense our most intimate and affecting moments can be reached more readily than through any other channel. The project is inspired by my own experiences in medical microbiology, and how we were taught to presumtively identify bacterial pathogens on the basis of the aroma that they generate. To this day I can still remember the moment, when in an undergraduate microbiology lab class, the late Joyce Fraser told me that Haemophilus influenza when grown on blood agar smells of semen! She was of course quite correct. Here are some other bacterial aroma notes:

Eikenella corrodens: bleach

Staphyloccocus aureus: skin-like smell with a secondary smell of bread.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa: initial smell of grapes with a secondary smell of tortillas

Group F Beta Hemolytic Streptococcus: strong buttery smell

Stenotrophomonas: ammonia

Staphylococcus epidermidis: body odour

Streptococcus intermedius: butterscotch

Proteus vulgaris: burnt chocolate

Flavobacterium odoratum and Alcaligenes faecalis (formerly Alcaligenes odorans) freshly cut apple

Streptomyces coelicolor: freshly dug soil/autumnal woodlands

Gluconoacetobacter species: vinegar

Clostridium perfringens: horse shit

I’m attempting to generate a highly personalized perfume, that smells of me, or as the many bacteria of my microbiome generate my unique bodily aroma, that also is derived from these prokaryotic cells. This is a first screen to isolate bacteria from my microbiome.

One thought on “The Search for Microbiomal Scents

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s