Pregnancy, Babies, Parenting News & Tips

Human Feet Home to Nearly 200 Different Types of Fungi

By Julia Lynn Rubin / May 22, 2013 03:22 PM EDT
  • Girl's Feet
  • (Photo : flickr/kitkath-ruiz) The human feet are home to a diverse community of fungi.

Scientists have recently discovered that the human foot is home to more than 200 different types of fungi, according to the BBC News.

Although fungi live "all over the human body," a new study reveals that feet, particularly the heel and under toenails, are their favorite spots to the harmless fungi to exist and grow.

Like Us on Facebook

The team of researchers led by the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland "sequenced the DNA of fungi living on the skin at 14 different body areas in 10 healthy adults." Fungi samples were extracted from the ear canal, heel, toenails, between the eyebrows, palm, chest, between the toes, forearm, nostrils and groin of healthy adults, and the data revealed that "fungal richness varies across the body."

In the study, 60 types of fungi were found in toenail clippings, 40 types between the toes, and 80 types on the heel, the most complex of fungal habitats. Other "favored fungal hotspots" included the palm, forearm and inside of the elbow, which had about 18 to 32 types of fungi each. In contrast, the head and the trunk had just two to 10 types each.

"The data from our study gives us a baseline about normal individuals that we never had before," lead researcher Dr. Julia Segre said. "The bottom line is your feet are teeming with fungal diversity, so wear your flip flops in locker rooms if you don't want to mix your foot fungi with someone else's fungi." 

Although fungi on the skin is normal and generally harmless, if it multiplies it may result in infection. In 20 percent of volunteers studied, researchers found problems consisting of such fungal infections. They believe that an imbalance of microbes may "provide an opportunity for harmful microbes to flourish and establish disease."

Fungal expert Dr. Paul Dyer of Nottingham University said normally fungi can co-exist on the human body without causing illness or any harm, unless someone has a poor immune system.

"It illustrates the tremendous diversity of fungi that grow on the human body," he said on the topic of the new study. "This is much higher than we previously knew."

© 2015 ParentHerald.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

'The Walking Dead' New Character Aaron a Good Guy?

"The Walking Dead" series is known for its whirlwind of characters, and now a new one named Aaron is leaving fans guessing.

Read More »

Should Rockstar Release 'Red Dead Redemption 2' or 'Manhunt 3'? [Poll]

Rumor of the release of 'Red Dead Redemption 2" will soon be proven correct or not as the speculated March 2015 due date nears.

Read More »

'Transformers' Actress Megan Fox Wins Razzie for Worst Supporting Actress

Megan Fox, rumored to be the leading lady in "Transformers 5," bagged the award for worst supporting actress.

Read More »

Xbox One March Update to Bring Screenshot Feature? [Rumors]

The 2015 Xbox One update for March might bring a screenshot feature, according to some rumors.

Read More »

Air Jordan 4 Retro 'Tech Grey' Drops February

The AJ 4, remastered by the Jordan brand, is believed to be a strong close-out for the label, after a string of releases during the NBA All-Star weekend.

Read More »

Amber Rose Calls Kim Kardashian a 'W***e'; Khloe Defends Her

Are Kim Kardashian and Kanye West heading to a divorce?

Read More »

Pacquiao vs Mayweather Fight 2015 Contract Details Revealed; Drug Test Clause Confirmed

Pacquiao and Mayweather are now close to completing the contract for their fight on May 2, 2015.

Read More »

Iron Man Joins 'Captain America 3' Confirms Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr. has confirmed that Iron Man will be in "Captain America: Civil War."

Read More »

LG G4 Release Date Delayed to April

LG seems to be trying to avoid the Samsung Galaxy S6. The company has moved the release of the LG G4 to April.

Read More »

PlayStation Plus Free Games List March 2015 to Include 'Helldivers'?

Information about a free PlayStation Plus game might have been leaked recently.

Read More »

'Jurassic World' Dinosaurs Revealed So Far

For those who really want to know more about the dinosaurs that will be appearing in "Jurassic World," here is a list compiled from Jurassic World.com.

Read More »

Anti-Vaccine Parents to Blame for U.S. Measles Outbreak?

A measles epidemic is slowly making its way across the United States and all fingers are pointing to the anti-vaccination movement.

Read More »

Real Time Analytics