Smarts
Charlotte Hannah
May 23, 2013

Your Body Is Pretty Much Covered in Fungus


Hey, guess what? Your body is pretty much covered in various types of fungus. That song “Your Body Is a Wonderland,” written by human fungus John Mayer? It also could’ve been written by a regular fungus, if fungi were capable of penning hit soft rock jams.

Oh, and speaking of jams — toe jam. You know that mixture of sock lint and skin cells that tends to collect between your little piggies? Full of fungus. It’s just fungus city in there. In fact, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, your toes are home to Penicillium (which is the mold penicillin comes from) and Saccharomyces (which is the type of yeast used to make bread and beer) — among many, many others. Delicious!

All told, your feet can be blanketed in up to 80 different genera of fungi at any given time.You can thank the fungus for the eye-watering foot stank you and your housemates are treated to on hot days. Go on, thank the fungus. THANK THE FUNGUS.

And that’s not all. While your feet might make the perfect habitat for fungus galore, they’re not the only place on your body the fungi are setting up camp. Your head and trunk (the part of your body that isn’t your limbs) are covered in a genus of fungus called Malassezia, one species of which is responsible for your dandruff. There’s also fungus in and around your ears, in your nostrils and on your hands.

It’s not all bad. Julie Segre, leader of the team that researched the fungus at the National Human Genome Research Institute, says certain types of “good fungi” actually help keep your skin healthy. So, you get nice radiant skin, and The Fungus gets healthy flesh on the host body. Everybody wins! All hail The Fungus! Resistance is futile!