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dslc1000

Ikky bacteria in sweat and plaque!

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I have a few specific questions - all in relation to nice things like bacteria, sweat and plaque. (You might want to postpone reading this post until after your dinner. :D )

 

I am aware that sweat itself is actually odourless, and that the unpleasant smell actually comes from the byproducts of bacteria feeding on the sweat.

 

When I discovered this, I was led to ask myself: does the gram positive bacteria which breaks up the molecules in sweat actually serve any useful purpose? Anyone know?

 

Also, does anyone know if the bacteria in saliva - the ones which from plaque on teeth surfaces - has any useful purpose?

 

And does anyone know how the bacteria in the saliva actually got there - e.g. via the food a person eats?

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The purpose is to, well, live.

 

That's point enough.

 

You may as well ask 'What's the point of a butterfly?'

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Sorry MrL_JaKiri, I should have been more specific. What I really want to know is: do these bacteria serve any useful purpose for the human body? E.g. is it necessary for the components of sweat to be broken down so it will evaporate more rapidly?

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dslc1000 said in post #3 :

Sorry MrL_JaKiri, I should have been more specific. What I really want to know is: do these bacteria serve any useful purpose for the human body? E.g. is it necessary for the components of sweat to be broken down so it will evaporate more rapidly?

 

Don't think so; it's just a question of possible sources of nutrients going unused, and a kind of life finding a way to utilise it, like volcanic vents at the bottom of the sea.

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"And does anyone know how the bacteria in the saliva actually got there - e.g. via the food a person eats?"

 

Through the saliva breathed out other peoples breath.

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Skye said in post #5 :

"And does anyone know how the bacteria in the saliva actually got there - e.g. via the food a person eats?"

 

Through the saliva breathed out other peoples breath.

I though bacteria typically was not air transmitted!

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What they may have been trying to say is that bacteria don't usually get transmitted by air alone. In the air, most microbes wouldn't survive for very long - they'd much rather be inside a host or on a nice chunk of food for them to sustain themselves on. When bacteria (and other microbes) are said to be "airborne", usually this means that they will spread via aerosols (i.e. small droplets of water or some other fluid that is sprayed into the air). This is how, for example, that sneezing on someone can cause them to catch the same cold you have.

 

About the bacteria in sweat & saliva - mostly they just capitalize on the available carbon source - they don't help or hinder us in any other way.

 

Cookie

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If the bacteria benefit, but the humans aren't affected, then it's called commensalism. If both the bacteria and the humans benefit, then it's a mutualistic relationship.

 

Cookie

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Cookie said in post #9 :

About the bacteria in sweat & saliva - mostly they just capitalize on the available carbon source - they don't help or hinder us in any other way.

 

Cookie

 

I think that the bacteria do hinder us. First of all, bacteria in sweat are responsible for an unpleasant odour. I know this isn't a permanent effect, but it is a negative effect nonetheless. As for the bacteria in plaque, well they clearly have a negative effect – they attack tooth enamel - and it can be a permanent one.

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dslc1000 said in post # :

I think that the bacteria do hinder us.

Personally I wouldn't be that inclined to make babies with someone who constantly smelled of body odour, so I'm thinking there may be something in that (at least for humans).

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True enough! I guess I was thinking more in the stricter sense of parasitism where the parasite and host are competing for the same resources -- with these bacteria, they're not using a carbon source we need, but their activities do have some impact on us nevertheless.

 

Good point!

 

Cookie

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"I though bacteria typically was not air transmitted!"

 

Air isn't a good place for most bacteria, including anaerobic baceria that infect the mouth, but many can live a while in little droplets, aerosols, which are how alot from your mouth, throat and lungs are spread. One of the main problems with modern sanitation is flush toilets, which create alot of aerosols packed with fecal bacteria.

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"Personally I wouldn't be that inclined to make babies with someone who constantly smelled of body odour, so I'm thinking there may be something in that (at least for humans)."

 

Well, human release famamones through odor when wet, but when they dry they have an unpleasent odor

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He means "pheromones" - and they are a type of molecule that is released as a signal to others, for instance, to attract mates.

 

Cookie

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DeoxyriboNucleicAcid said in post #:
Well, human release famamones through odor when wet, but when they dry they have an unpleasent odor

What's your point?

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Cap'n Refsmmat said in post # :

Theres a name for that type of relationship, but unfortunately I forgot. Do you know the name?

 

Sybiosis or symbiotic rellationship would also be another term :)

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A mutualism can be a symbiotic relationship, but commensalism is not symbiotic.

 

Symbiosis deals with the dependency of the trophisms, whereas mutualism deals with benefit.

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Cap'n Refsmmat said in post # :

So are you saying a toilet should be airtight?

 

No, the mouth and skin are pretty tough environments for the types of bacteria that live in your intestines, so they'll tend to die without causing any damage. The only problem that I can think of would be if you had open sores. On the other hand, food contaminated by these types of bacteria might be a problem, that's why you usually have two sets of doors for public toilets near where food is prepared or served, to keep the little guys seperate.

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