The idea that cheese is formed by infusing bacteria into milk is something that we are all aware of. There are many different forms of cheese, including cheddar, Parmesan, gouda, and mozzarella, which are amongst the most popular cheeses in the world. It may not appear comfortable to consume food that has been contaminated with microbes. The fact is, bacteria may be found in almost all dairy products, including butter and yogurt. These bacteria are not harmful and, in fact, maybe useful as probiotics.
Ever had the feeling that some more aged cheeses smell and taste a little bit like an armpit? Please pardon the pun. What do you think about a belly button…? That, of course, isn’t a fluke. The bacteria found in the armpits and belly buttons have many characteristics with the microorganisms used to make cheese. Cheese has been produced from them due to their closeness.
Christina Agapakis, a synthetic biologist, and Sissel Tolaas, an artist, came up with the idea. To better describe the initiative, they named it “Selfmade.” The pair cooperated with the University of Edinburgh and Stanford University on groundbreaking research. Also, they used biotechnology, art, and engineering to make ‘human cheese’. Assistance from the universities in Edinburgh and Stanford was sought for the project.
Curds are made from milk by using a starting culture or bacterium that converts the milk into curds. It’s the deciding factor in whether the cheese turns out to be a tasty cheddar or a tangy gouda-style kind. According to a study, many of the bacteria employed in cheesemaking are comparable to those that we meet on our bodies. In fact, that’s why the smell of stinking feet and rotten cheese may at times be indistinguishable. The similarities are so great that some of the microorganisms on the human body have the ability to transform fresh milk into cheese. And it was this that was employed to create the ‘cheese selfies’ that served as the project’s final output.
So, how can one make a block of cheese from a human’s microbiome? As part of its study, a London-based bio lab called Open Cell collected germs from celebrities’ body parts such as their ears, noses, and bellybuttons. As more strains were grown in Petri dishes, the finest ones were selected for use in cheesemaking.
Although the odd investigation of human aversion may not be to everyone’s taste, the display has certainly gained some admirers.
Ruby Tandoh, the runner-up on the Great British Baking Show, stated in her entry that a sample of germs from her face had been submitted to be cultured into Stilton cheese. “It’s not gross, it’s art,” she added.
Suggs, the singer of the ska band Madness, which is most famous in the United States for its 1982 hit “Our House,” wanted to have his likeness immortalized in cheddar cheese.
Professor Green, a rapper who has confessed that he despises cheese, asked that bacteria from his belly button be transformed into mozzarella. And that’s the only kind of cheese he can practically accept.
It was no surprise that Alex James, a bassist for the band Blur and a star chef, picked Cheshire cheese.
There has been more than one occasion in which this couple has worked together on a cheesy endeavor. In 2013, scientists created 11 different forms of human cheese, one of which was generated from the bacteria found on the belly button of journalist and activist Michael Pollan.
It was surprising to discover that the cheese manufactured from human microorganisms did not smell like the person from whom it got. The cheese manufactured from, say, Professor Green is unlikely to have a distinct odor that is recognizable as such.
Agapakis told The Verge in 2013 that individuals have a “combination of repulsion and attraction” to cheese, and that this “gives us an opportunity to have a very fascinating talk about microbes and scents, and why they can creep people out.” However, we don’t know if the Selfmade cheese wheels are suitable for ingestion.