STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Foot bacteria. Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of bacteria that live on human feet. Such bacteria metabolise sweat and other substances on the skin. Brevibacterium sp. (red) are considered a major cause of foot and shoe odour because they ingest dead skin on the feet and, in the process, convert the amino acid methionine into methanethiol, a colourless gas with a distinctive putrid smell that has a sulfuric aroma. The dead skin that fuels this process is especially common on the soles and between the toes. Brevibacterium also give cheeses their characteristic smell. Magnification: x15000 when printed 10 centimetres wide.
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