Quite recently great debate has swept the web based on one furry topic: beards. Concern arose when media sources like the New York Post reported that beards are full of fecal bacteria, according to a team of microbiologists led by John Golobic of Quest Diagnostics. However, in response to these findings a team of microbiologists at University College London discovered something much more appealing about what’s hiding in a man’s beard…
Adam Roberts, the senior lecturer in microbial diseases at the University College London, and his team set out to test the theory proposed by Golobic, but found no concrete support. After further investigation, Roberts’s team discovered that some bacteria found in beards actually contain antibiotic properties. Through agar plate testing with an indicator strain Roberts’ team found that from a sample of twenty beards around twenty-five percent of one hundred different isolates contained these properties. Due to the adaptive nature of several diseases, like pneumonia, existing antibiotics are proving less and less effective. In addition to beards, Roberts has around fifty different bacteria samples from trampolines, refrigerators and even cats that prove effective against multiple indicator strains. These bacteria could be key in discovering new antibodies to combat drug-resistant strains of deadly diseases currently developing resistance.
Whether it be fecal bacteria or super bacteria, or both living in a man’s beard the thought leads one to wonder what other microscopic organisms living on us could lead to major advances in disease treatment. Perhaps it’s a simple mutualistic relationship where the bacteria have a warm, cozy home and kill off any invaders trying to take over their patch of hair. Whatever the case may be, make sure to wash your hands frequently and appreciate a nice beard every once in a while, it might save your life one day.
Posted By Allen Currier (Group 1)