Skin microbiome and metabolome analysis across human societies

01 October 2019 → 30 September 2022
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
No data available
Study and novel solutions for body odor Skin Microbiome and functional output Hunter-gatherers versus Western society.
Project description

Today, the majority of humans spend their lives indoors. About 10,000 years ago all humans spend their lives outdoors and lived in close contact with nature. This radical shift in lifestyle has led to an increase in skin allergies, acne and eczema. By sampling hunter-gatherers in South-America and Africa and comparing with more urbanized areas in Brazil, USA and Europe we aim to identify differences in bacteriome, mycobiome and metabolome. Through bacterial transplants on gnotobiotic mice we aim to find immunological responses and study the potentially protective function of indigenous microbiota.

Underarm body odor is also a typical Western skin condition, which many people suffer from. Upon today, very few measures are available to tackle this issue. The overuse of underarm cosmetics has led to a worsening of the condition. In this project we aim to get a full understanding of body odor through integration of microbiome, metabolome and volatile datasets. We build further on solutions found in the first three years of postdoctoral research. Bacterial transplants with mixed and pure cultures have proven successful and will be studied through placebo-controlled double-blind clinical trials. Other methods, where we steer the microbiome toward a better smelling microbiome, are tested in humans clinical trials. For years, the idea was to kill off all bacteria to prevent malodors. The answer all along might have been the protection of the ‘right’ bacteria.