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How many types of fungi are on your foot?

By Tim Sandle     Jul 6, 2013 in Science
The answer to the question, for the average person exposed to a typical environment, is 50 different types of fungus on the foot. Few of these are visible and very few will cause any harm.
The ecological fungal map of the human foot has come from a study undertaken by scientists at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The team found an average of 50 species of fungi living on the feet of 10 healthy adults. Their results were published in a May issue of the science journal Nature.
For the study, the scientists also swabbed other body part of the volunteers. Sites selected included behind the ear, between the eyebrows, and on the chest, back, nostril, scalp, and various parts of the arm.
However, fungal communities were most diverse on the foot. The diversity was not such in numbers and types for any one moment in time, for when the researchers re-sampled the study volunteers a couple of months later they found that the fungal communities had changed and different species were found. This is unlike other parts of the body, where the fungal types were relatively stable.
The parts of the foot showing the greatest diversity were the plantar heel, toenail and toe web.
Most of the fungi are relatively harmless on healthy adults. It is only for some that such conditions like Athlete’s foot and toenail fungus arise. Athlete's foot causes scaling, flaking, and itching of the affected part, and toenail fungus causes discoloration, making the toenail yellow.
More about Fungus, Microorganisms, Infection, athlete's foot
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