This Is Human Cheese That Tastes Like Body Odor

11.20.13 Andy Cush

Dezeen, my favorite site for the weird and wonderful world of synthetic biology, today points us to human cheese. That is, cheese made with bacteria culled from real people’s bodies. Not just any bodies, either: there’s fromage derived from Olaf Eliasson‘s tears, Hans-Ulrich Obrist‘s nose, and Michael Pollan’s bellybutton.

The human cheeses were made by Christina Agapakis and Sissel Tolaas as part of a synthetic biology conference in Berlin. Apparently they taste and smell like the body odor of the bacterial “donor.”

“It’s no surprise that sometimes cheese odours and body odours are similar,” Agapakis said. “But when we started working together we were surprised by how not only do cheese and smelly body parts like feet share similar odour molecules but also have similar microbial populations.”

“Despite [their] chemical and biological similarities, there are obviously very different cultural and emotional responses to stinky cheese and stinky feet,” she added. “By making cheese directly from the microbes on the body, we want to highlight these bacterial connections as well as to question and potentially expand the role of both odours and microbes in our lives.”