Skin Bacteria

Posted on February 12, 2007  Comments (3)

Close Look at Human Arm Finds Host of Microbes:

“The skin is home to a virtual zoo,” said Blaser, a microbiologist who last week published online the first molecular analysis of the bacteria living on one small patch of human skin. “We’re just beginning to explore it.” The analysis revealed that human skin is populated by a diverse assortment of bacteria, including many previously unknown species, offering the first detailed peek at this potentially crucial ecosystem.

The work is part of a broader effort by a small coterie of scientists to better understand the microbial world that populates the human body. Virtually every orifice and the digestive tract are swarming with bacteria, fungi and other microbes. By some estimates, only one out of every 10 cells in the body is human.

Blaser’s team swabbed an area of skin about the size of silver dollar on the right and left forearms of three healthy men and three healthy women. They then used sophisticated molecular techniques to amplify and analyze fragments of bacterial DNA captured by the swabs. The analysis revealed 182 species, the researchers reported. Of those, 30 had never been seen. They identified an additional 65 species when they sampled four of the volunteers eight to 10 months later, including 14 new species.

There is so much interesting work being done in so many areas it makes keeping up with just a small portion of them tough. Hopefully you find this blog an enjoyable way to do so. I know I find the blog helps me focus and has helped me keep track of some of what I read. But I also completely forget some of the things I have posted before.

To me this is a visible example of how silly anti-bacterial soap is in general use. Some bacteria do make us sick but maybe either cause us no harm or are necessary or are helpful.

Related: Beneficial Bacteria – Disrupting the Replication of Bacteria – bacteria is the human digestive systemWhere Bacteria Get Their Genes

3 Responses to “Skin Bacteria”

  1. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Hacking Your Body’s Bacteria
    April 28th, 2007 @ 8:48 am

    “In sheer numbers, bacterial cells in the body outnumber our own by a factor of 10, with 50 trillion bacteria living in the digestive system alone, where they’ve remained largely unstudied until the last decade…”

  2. CuriousCat: People Have More Bacterial Cells than Human Cells
    December 3rd, 2007 @ 9:30 am

    “there are estimated to be more than 500 species living at any one time in an adult intestine, the majority belong to two phyla…”

  3. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Tracking the Ecosystem Within Us
    February 23rd, 2008 @ 9:22 pm

    “An astonishing number and variety of microbes, including as many as 400 species of bacteria, help humans digest food, mitigate disease, regulate fat storage, and even promote the formation of blood vessels…”

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