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
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.