Imagine you could take on somebody else’s body odour


Sweat influences your body odour. It is not the perspiration itself that releases the odour, but the bacteria present in the sweat. The type of microorganisms on your skin and in your armpit largely determines your body odour. 

For most people Staphylococcus is the dominant bacterium in the armpit. This bacterium ensures a normal body odour. When the Corynebacterium is the dominant type of bacteria, your body odour will be stronger and more penetrating. Corynebacterium enzymatically degrades fatty acids, hormones and amino acids in your sweat to volatile sulfur compounds.

It seems to be mostly Corynebacteria that cause a bad smell but micrococci are also a contributing factor.

There are two types of acid present in your sweat that create body odour. Bacteria that live in the skin produce this acid. On the one hand, there is the Propionibacterium that transforms amino acids into propionic acid. This acid causes a vinegary smell. On the other hand, Staphylococcus epidermidis produces the breakdown product isovaleric acid. This fragrance evokes strong cheese.

Microbial transplant

In 2013, the University of Ghent had the idea to perform a microbial axillary transplant. To this end, they found identical male twins with different bacterial populations in the armpit. The body odour of one twin was normal, the body odour of the other was more pronounced. They wanted to transfer the non-odorous Staphylococci from the odourless armpit to the smelly underarm in order to fight the unpleasant smelling Corynebacteria. The first microbial community transplant on the armpit was a reality and a success. It induced a mutation of the microbial population and reduced possible odours problems. When the transplant was attempted on unrelated subjects, only a temporary mutation was achieved and maintained for 3 to 4 days.

So what do you think? Will bacterial deodorants become a reality in the future?

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