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.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: x20000 when printed 10 centimetres wide.
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