Researchers have discovered that there are close to 200 different types of fungui species living on our feet – more than any other part of the body. Although fungi inhabit other areas of the body – such as behind our ears – the researchers found that most of them live on our feet.
The study, carried out and published in the journal Nature, is the most extensive analysis of the body’s fungal diversity to date.
Although only about half of all types of fungi are harmful, they commonly live on the skin and can be a major cause of infection. This finding is key to discovering new ways to treat skin conditions caused by fungal infection.
The study was led by researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesida, Maryland.
The part of the body with the most fungi was the heel, followed by toenail clippings and the toes. The head contained the fewest types of fungi.
Lead researcher, Dr Julia Serge, said ‘The data from the study give us a baseline about normal individuals that we never had before. The bottom line is your feet are teeming with fungal diversity.’
The researchers believe that an imbalance of microbes may be the reason why harmful ones spread. In conclusion the diversity of fungi living on the human body was much higher than expected.
Source: Medical News