Polyester clothes smell worse than cotton, following intensive exercise by their wearers, because bacteria that cause odor grow better on polyester, according to research published ahead of print in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
In the study, the investigators collected t-shirts from 26 healthy individuals following an intensive, hour-long bicycle spinning session, and incubated the shirts for 28 hours before having them inspected by a trained odor panel. The researchers also investigated the taxonomy of the bacteria on the shirts, and in the axillaries.
Freshly secreted sweat has little odor, because the long-chain fatty acids the axillaries secrete are too big to be volatile, says first author, Chris Callewaert of Ghent University, Belgium. Bacteria break these, as well as hormones and sulfur compounds, down to waftable sized, odoriferous molecules.
On the clothes, the main culprit bacteria are micrococci, says Callewaert. "They are known for their enzymatic potential to transform long-chain fatty acids, hormones, and amino acids into smaller—volatile—compounds, which have a typical malodor."
Staphylococci, which inhabit both axillary skin and adjacent textiles (the latter with much less diversity), create a normal, non-malodorous body odor, he says.
"The micrococci are able to grow better on polyester," says Callewaert. He is currently investigating exactly why polyester encourages their growth, and suspects it has to do with the nature of its surfaces.
Corynebacteria are the main causes of bad odors in the armpits, but these anaerobes fail to grow on textiles, says Callewaert.
The impetus for this research is the suffering caused by unpleasant body odor (BO), says Callewaert, who has been consulted by more than 200 patients with this problem, and who runs the website, drarmpit.com.
"BO is taboo, and its prevalence is greatly underestimated," he says. "There is little these people can do to help themselves. Some of them are too psychologically distressed to talk to strangers, or even to leave the house, afraid of what people might think of their smell."
Wearing cotton clothes will reduce the problem somewhat, says Callewaert. But his ultimate objective is to solve the problem of body odor, by transplanting microbes from non-malodorous relatives to those afflicted. (Early results are promising, he says.)
More generally, Callewaert advises people with smelly armpits to avoid overusing antiperspirants, which he says can encourage enrichment of the odor-causing corynebacteria in the axillae. "That is what I have heard from people with BO—the more they use it, the worse it eventually got," he says. But deodorants did not worsen the problem.
The manuscript can be found online at http://bit.ly/asmtip0914a. The final version of the article is scheduled for the November 2014 issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology is a publication of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). The ASM is the largest single life science society, composed of over 39,000 scientists and health professionals. Its mission is to advance the microbiological sciences as a vehicle for understanding life processes and to apply and communicate this knowledge for the improvement of health and environmental and economic well-being worldwide.
Jim Sliwa | Eurek Alert!
‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie
Calcium Induces Chronic Lung Infections
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
24.10.2016 | Life Sciences
24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy