Wanna Sniff Some Cheese Made From Human Microbes?

Illustration for article titled Wanna Sniff Some Cheese Made From Human Microbes?

Feeling a little peckish? Well, you won't after reading this. NPR reports that UCLA microbiologist Christina Agapakis and artist Sissel Tolaas have teamed up "to create cheese using the microbes that grow on their skin." We understand if you need a minute.

See, what you really need to make cheese is milk, the bacteria Lactobacillus (to make it go bad) and yeast (to age the resulting clumps and give it a particular taste). But it turns out you could just as easily collect the necessary bacteria and yeast from our own bodies. So the pair harvested some from sources including the bellybutton of food writer Michael Pollan and someone else's feet, then got cooking.

The resulting cheese is currently on display at Dublin's Trinity College, where visitors can't taste the cheese, but they can give it a good sniff. NPR reports:

"People were really nervous and uncomfortable, and kind of making these grossed out faces," Agapakis says about visitors to her exhibit. "Then they smell the cheese, and they'll realize that it just smells like a normal cheese."


But when you put it like that, "normal cheese" starts to sound pretty relative. NPR says that part of the point of the project is to ask why we're cool with the bacteria in cheese, but not the bacteria on our bodies. But now I'm just considering swearing off cheese entirely, forever.

An Omnivore's Dilemma: Would You Eat Michael Pollan Microbe Cheese? [NPR]

Scientists Ruined Cheese By Making It Out of Skin [Time]

Image by Sea Wave/Shutterstock.

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If they collect it from my daughter's feet, it will probably taste just like Danish Blue. Cause that is what it smells like already.