Wee Yeasty Beasties
Fungi are like Rodney Dangerfields of the microbial world. Funny looking, often oddly round, and they get no respect.
I mean, their name suggests that they’d be rather enjoyable to hang out with*. A new survey of the human skin ecosystem has identified some of their diverse influence on human health and biology.
For as much attention as our microbiome gets these days (need a microbiome introduction? I made a video about it), the bacteria receive most of the publicity. But as the photo above shows, many regions of our bodies are teeming with yeast and other fungi (the blue dots are yeast on a human hair). Understanding their diversity is essential to figuring out who’s a good fungi and who’s a yeast beast.
Not only is it important to understand how these various species lead to medical annoyances like toenail infections, athlete’s foot, dandruff, diaper rash, and, of course, yeast infections, but also how they interact with or are held in check by our bacterial copilots. With as many as 60 to 80 different species living on your feet, who’s welcome and who’s a ticking time bomb for a locker-room itch-fest?
*That’s a “fun guy” joke. I hope you got it. Not the fungus. The joke.