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Exhibit features cheese made from human bacteria


November 22, 2013

The Selfmade cheese, by Christina Agapakis and Sissel Tolaas, is part of Grow Your Own ... Life After Nature exhibit (Photo: Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin)

The Selfmade cheese, by Christina Agapakis and Sissel Tolaas, is part of Grow Your Own ... Life After Nature exhibit (Photo: Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin)

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We're no strangers to unusual food here at Gizmag, but this latest culinary masterpiece is probably the most unappealing treat we've yet come across. Dubbed Selfmade, the cheese in question is made from human bacteria which derives from samples taken from people's armpits, toes, and noses.

The Selfmade cheese is the work of scientist Christina Agapakis and scent expert Sissel Tolaas, and is being exhibited as part of the Grow Your Own ... Life After Nature exhibit, at Trinity College Dublin's Science Gallery. The exhibit also features other projects which blur the line between art and science, such as I Wanna Deliver a Dolphin: a project proposing that future humans give birth to dolphins.

Each Selfmade cheese is created from cultures taken from the skin of a different person, and the process involves a strange combination of food preparation and microbiological techniques. This results in signature cheeses which are unique to each person – such as a "Christina" cheese, and "Ben" cheese, for example.

However, if the image of human bacteria-based cheese is making you salivate, be aware that the human cheese isn't actually available for human consumption, but is rather intended as a means of promoting discourse on microbiology.

"Can knowledge and tolerance of bacterial cultures in our food improve tolerance of the bacteria on our bodies?" posit Agapakis and Tolaas in their artist's statement.

The Selfmade cheese and other Grow Your Own ... Life After Nature projects will be on display at Trinity College Dublin's Science Gallery until January 19, 2014.

Source: Dublin Gallery via Dezeen

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams

Mmmmm, toe jam. And did they really have to have an ad for toe nail fungus remedies right underneath this article??? 8^|


I am with you, it is totally unappealing. It won't go on my 'bucket list'.


This sounds yucky... but if a person has a gene that is resistant to say, allergies and the gene makes bacteria, can that resistance be transferred to the person who eats the cheese?? Just saying, thinking outside the box. Remember smallpox was first taken from the puss and sours of people that had smallpox and introduced to a healthy person as a prevention. This occurred in the mid to late 1700... Think outside the box

S Michael

This has been going on since the 1870's with limburger cheese, made with Brevibacterium linens, the same bacteria that makes your feet stink.

Hal Waldrop

This is the most repulsive idea I've seen in a while. The person who dreamed this up needs professional help.


Maybe it works the other way around? Eating stinky cheese makes you smell stinky?

Henry Van Campa

@S.Michael you should maybe look up wikipedia to get the knowledge what allergies are and how the "human" bacteria come into your body (you dont produce them)


This certainly gives a whole new credence to 'Fumunda' cheese...


It looks like if you lack certain gut bacteria, some anti cancer drugs do not work for you. Can they possibly expand this self-made cheese idea into importing other folks' healthy gut microbiome to fight your cancer? I am all for eating cheese made from gut-healthy people's bacteria. If your gut environment is barren, would it kill the imported bacteria before they can transform your intestine?

Then again, Glyphosate in Roundup seems to suppress the biosynthesis of cytochrome P450 enzymes and amino acid by your gut, so you have to make sure the 'others-made cheese' is free of the traces of glyphosate. Is there anybody left in today's world who is free of Roundup impact?


A variety of microorganisms (bateria and fungus) are used in the production of a variety of food products on a daily basis yet nobody flinches at the prospect of consuming the majority of them.

Is it simply that these are "human" bacteria that makes them so reulsive or is there something more to it?


Could you smuggle microbe cultures by making cheese with it and putting a fancy wrapper on to get it through customs? (I'm a mystery writers list, we think of this kind of thing all the time).

Jean Lamb
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