It seems that some of life’s simplest yet most widespread problems never have solutions. Millions of men worldwide have to watch their hair fade away with no reliable cure. Or how about that man or woman who somehow manages to sit next you on the subway or bus making your eyes water with their biological curse of body odor, better known by bacteriologists by its scientific name: “pit stank.”
Pit stank doesn’t discriminate. The victims are our fathers, sisters, children, and spouses. However, thanks to the pioneering efforts of a legal rep for an NPO in Sendai working with Tohoku University’s New Industry Creation Center the world is one step closer to a cure for this socially scorned affliction.
Fumio Miura, a 59-year-old sufferer of BO has been spearheading the efforts to rid the world of this foul biological process for the past 3 years. Working with consultation from Tohoku University’s Associate Professor of Biological Science, Kimiko Watanabe he has isolated a substance that inhibits the growth of bacteria responsible for BO.
Body odor is caused by these little yellow grape-like bacteria that live on the skin in your arm pits. These bacteria eat up the fat present in your sweat and in the process create that distinctive smell, therefore the more you sweat, the more smell you give off. Since different people have different levels of these otherwise benign bacteria some people are unfortunately predisposed to BO problems, just like Mr. Miura.
Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants offer a temporary fix but can’t give severe victims of BO the cure they need. The only alternative is to have your sweat glands removed surgically – not a desirable alternative.
The research has found that a substance found in plant seeds has a bacteriostatic effect on the BO germ. A bacteriostatic effect is different from antibiotic in the sense that bacteria is prevented from growing further rather than killed. This allows the bacteria to perform its protective functions without some undesired side effects caused by over-activity.
When 1000 body odor bacteria were mixed with 0.1mL of the substance in a petri dish, they did not reproduce even under three months of cultivating conditions. However when applied on the skin, it was deemed safe but did not have the desired effect of inhibiting bacteria growth.
Despite this researchers remain hopeful with Prof. Watanabe saying, “If we can better understand the mechanisms of this bacteria, we can find the key to producing drug which can cure body odor.”
Source: kahoku (Japanese)