The recent flood of research and news articles on the human microbiome have established the microecology of the human body as an important new field. Of the 15-18 body parts sampled to collect microbes for sequencing, one was notably missing: the beard.
The Beardome project by Hydrocalypse Industries that I was part of a few years ago began to uncover some of the hidden microbiology of the beard:
While this was mostly tongue-in-(bearded)-cheek, it looks like the beard can actually be home to useful microbes. The microbrewery Rogue Ales is starting production on a new beer, brewed with a yeast found in the beard of their brewmaster. I’m really interested in the connections between the microbes on our body and the practical microbes used in our food, particularly in cheese, and this brings it to a whole new level. Beardology is a very new field, perhaps this beer will inspire us to look deeper at what is lying beneath our beards.
About the Author:Christina Agapakis is a biological designer who blogs about biology, engineering, engineering biology, and biologically inspired engineering. Follow on Twitter @thisischristina.