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Why do feet smell?

Why do feet smell?
10B5 Queen katherine school in Cumbria (age 5-14)

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One Response

  1. Bacteria are found everywhere on our skin, but areas of skin which are moist, such as the armpits and the feet (especially when we wear socks and shoes) have larger numbers of bacteria than those which are normally quite dry (such as the back of the hand). Sweat contains a number of different compounds, some of which can be metabolised (broken down chemically) by skin bacteria. Some of these metabolites – such as methylbutanoic acid – have a very unpleasant odour and it is these that cause feet to smell. People with larger numbers of the types of bacteria, which can produce these metabolites (staphylococci and corynebacteria) tend to have more foot odour than people who have them in smaller numbers.

    Kevin Kerr, Consultant Microbiologist and Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists.

    The Royal College of Pathologists is holding an event entitled, Sex Drugs and Alcohol during National Science and Engineering Week. Our first National Pathology Week (3 – 9 November 2008) is taking place this year. See http://www.rcpath.org/index.asp?PageID=1526 for more details.

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