A sea of fungi found on human feet

May 22, 2013 at 10:19 PM
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BETHESDA, Md., May 22 (UPI) -- People's feet are awash in fungi, U.S. researchers say they found 80 types of fungi on a foot's heel and 40 types on the toenails.

Lead author Julie Segre, a geneticist at the Human Genome Research Institute, said on average, each person has about 100 types of fungi living on the soles of their feet, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The study involved 10 healthy volunteers. Study co-author Heidi Kong, a dermatologist, took samples from their scalp, nostrils, heels, forearms, between the toes and other body parts. In addition, Kong cut their toenails.

Segre used DNA for identification of the fungi.

In addition, the researchers also found feet fungi were in constant flux.

The study, published in the journal Nature, found after a month only 30 percent to 40 percent of the fungi on the feet remained the same.

Segre said more research is needed to find why fungi concentrated on the feet -- the researchers found only two to 10 types of fungi on the forehead -- but Segre speculated it might have something to do with the temperature changes feet experience or from the contact feet have with the ground.

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