Belly-Button Brie Anyone?: Cheese Cultivated From Human Body Bacteria

human cheese
 
If you absolutely cannot stand the stench of cheese, you will definitely find it an incredible feat keeping your meal in your stomach after reading about this. A new exhibit opened at the Dublin Science Gallery; on display are cheeses cultured from the body bacteria of celebrities from the realms of science, food and art.
 
The art installation titled “Selfmade” features 11 “cheese portraits” which include a farmhouse cheese, a washed rind, a natural rind, and a whey cream cheese. They were made with the bacteria swabbed from the noses, toes, and mouths of artists, anthropologists, writers and cheesemakers. Can you exclaim, “Holy Cheesus”?!
 
human cheese
 
Michael Pollan, the author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and other books about food, contributed the bacteria from his belly button.
 
Perhaps it is less revolting and more assuring when Christina Agapakis, one of the creators of the “Selfmade” project said that “This isn't cheese for eating, but for thinking.”
 
human cheese
 
Each of the cheeses have their own unique and ripe odor. In case you are wondering, no, they do not smell like the humans who contributed their bacteria.
 
“In general, the cheeses smell mostly just like cheese!” Agapakis said.
 
human cheese
 
Here's a fun fact: There are some bacteria families in which one microbe specializes in body odors while a close cousin is an expert in dairywork. Take a good sniff of a Swiss Emmental, and you're inhaling a compound called isovalieric acid that's manufactured by the bug Propionibacterium freudenreichii. Several varieties of Propionibacterium roost on human skin, Agapakis explained.
 
human cheese
 
Instead of grossing out cheese-lovers, Agapakis actually hopes that the gallery visitors who experience her work will go from “Yuck!” followed by some gagging sounds to “Eureka!” She said that perhaps they will swallow their “initial reactions of discomfort or disgust” and “grow to respect and value the microbes and odors in our world.”
 
Check out the video below explaining the rational behind “Selfmade”.
 
 
Information Source: NBC News
 

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