Belly Button Bacteria and Fungi Spores under the scanning electron microscope. Our body is home for a microbial ecosystem. Interestingly, most microbes of the human body have not been investigated until very recently. We imagine microbes as something bad, but that’s not the case. In fact, they are mostly good for us or simply present, whether on your toe or in your nose.
Right now on our bodies, bacteria are fighting other bacteria, fungi and even viruses. Among your skin’s true warrior clans are species of the genus Bacilllus such as Bacillus subtilis. Bacillus subtilis produces antibiotic compounds that can kill other bacteria and even foot fungi. Right now it may be doing this on your skin. We tend to think of the life on our skin as somehow stable and yet like any wild kingdom the individuals alive at any moment are the result of millions of independent wins and losses.
Scientists have recently identified the Staphylococci, Corynebacteria, Actinobacteria, Clostridiales, and Bacilli as the most common groups of bacteria on our bodies. Some can be beautiful, e.g. species of Micrococcus (M. luteus) produce yellow colonies, others (M. roseus) red ones, at least when grown in agar. Clostridiales include bacteria like Anaerococcus and Clostridia and despite some of them can be really bad, most are harmless. The Clostridiales are spindle-shaped and motile anaerobes. They may be growing in your belly button, or maybe inside your ear. Like almost any bacteria in the wrong place, Staphylococcus species, such as Staphylococcus epidermis, can become pathogenic. But when living on your skin, Staphylococcus are usually beneficial, working as first line of defense against other pathogenic invasion.