What Does Cheese Made From Armpit and Nose Bacteria Smell Like?
Cheesemaking is a specific, scientific process that requires a working knowledge of microbiology. Traditionally, the enzymes necessary for cheese come from dairy animals, or are sometimes plant-derived. One group of scientists got curious, and wondered what cheeses derived from human bacteria would taste like. Are you curious?
Biologist Christina Agapakis and scent expert Sissel Tolaas worked on this unusual culinary sciences project as part of Synthetic Aesthetics, a synthetic biology project run by the University of Edinburgh and Stanford University. Agapakis was curious as to whether there might be human origins to some of our modern cheese flavors. So she got to swabbing armpits, hands, feet, and noses, inoculated milk with the swabs, and incubated now bacteria-filled milk. She used identical methods to strain and press the cheeses, getting a variety of flavors as a result.