Scientists study belly button bacteria

Discussion in 'Health and Lifestyle' started by Shadow, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. Shadow
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    Shadow BANNED

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    I'm never gonna look at belly buttons the same way again. :eusa_eh:

    New meaning to 'navel-gazing': Scientists study belly button bacteria

    A group of scientists at North Carolina State University is taking navel-gazing to another level.

    Jiri Hulcr and his colleagues at the Raleigh, N.C., school recently launched the Belly Button Biodiversity project as a fun way to interest people in microbiology and teach them about the bacteria that's found on skin.

    Although the belly button is an unusual place to conduct research, in many ways it's ideal digs for germs.

    "The belly button is protected, making it a safe haven for normal skin microbes," says Hulcr, a postdoctoral research associate who leads the project.

    Another plus is that few people wash this area with soap. "That's great for bacteria," explains Hulcr, because you get more interesting things growing there. (So far, they've found lots of Staphylococcus epidermidis, which is the most common bacteria found on skin -- but also bright yellow colonies of Micrococcus luteus, and gooey globs of Pseudomonas.)
    A third advantage is that the "belly button doesn't produce any special secretions or oils, such as other protected body parts, such as the nose or armpit," Hulcr says. "So the microflora inside the belly button is fairly representative of the rest of the body."

    And it's easily accessible: To get a sample, researchers hand each subject a sterile long cotton swab. You're asked to turn it around in your navel three times and place the swab in a vial. Scientists grow the bacteria in a culture and once they become "big and chunky enough" they're photographed. Participants are given a sample number to view their bacteria online.

    Volunteers also submit information about how often they wash their belly buttons, whether they have an "innie" or an "outie," as well as their age, sex, ethnicity, and where they grew up.

    "People are always surprised at how much stuff grows from even this superficial sample," Hulcr says, adding that a moderately disgusting discovery their project has made was that "very few people wash their belly button with soap."

    The Body Odd - New meaning to 'navel-gazing': Scientists study belly button bacteria
     
  2. Mr. H.
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    Mr. H. Diamond Member

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    I once save my belly button lint for an entire year.
    Gave it to the Mrs. for xmas.
    I thought it was romantic.
     
  3. Shadow
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    A whole year?? You could have knit her a sweater...or at least some socks. ;)
     
  4. Mr. H.
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    Mr. H. Diamond Member

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    Nah,' twarnt that much actually.
    But I didn't consider the bacteria issue. I stuffed it into an old Rx bottle.
    She never opened it thank goodness.
     
  5. waltky
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    waltky Wise ol' monkey Supporting Member

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    Granny says if dey go pokin' `round in Uncle Ferd's fat g/f's belly-button...

    ... dey liable to come across an old Edsel.
    :lol:
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2011
  6. percysunshine
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    percysunshine Gold Member

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    If there are belly button bacteria, there must belly button bacteriologists.

    What a riot that job would be.

    Girl in bar: "So what do you do?"

    Guy in bar: "Let me show you."
     
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  7. Mr. H.
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    How about the belly button bacteriologist's proctologist.
     

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