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Polyester clothes stink more than cotton, says research
Sep '14
Mr. Callewaert
Mr. Callewaert
Polyester clothes stink more than cotton clothes after work-out, as bacteria that cause the bad smell grow more on polyester clothes, according to a report by the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

According to the research, the investigators collected t-shirts from 26 healthy people after an intensive, one hour bicycle spinning session and incubated the shirts for 28 hours. These shirts were then checked by a trained odor panel. The trained panel also investigated the classification of the bacteria on the shirts, and in the axillaries.

The main objective of this study was to learn what kind of bacteria grow on what materials and which of those bacteria produce the strongest odors.

The polyester T-shirts smelled significantly less pleasant and more intense, as compared to cotton T-shirts. A dissimilar bacterial growth was found in cotton versus synthetic clothing textiles. The research found that the composition of clothing fibers promotes differential growth of textile microbes.

An important factor determining bacteria-fiber interaction is the origin and the composition of the clothing textile. There is a large difference in the way bacteria adhere to natural versus synthetic fibers.

Synthetic fibers gather moister in the free space between the fibers but do not adsorb it on the fibers themselves. Synthetic fibers are therefore less susceptible towards bacterial breakdown.

Chris Callewaert of Ghent University, Belgium, the first author of the report, said fresh secreted sweat has little odor, as the axillaries secrete long chain fatty acids which are too big to evaporate. The bacteria break down the hormones and sulfur compounds to smaller size which create the odor, he added.

According to Callewart, Micrococci are the main type of bacteria which cause odor on clothes and grow more on synthetic clothes. Staphylococci, which inhabit both axillary skin and adjacent textiles create a normal, non-malodorous body odor, he said.

Corynebacteria are the main cause of bad odors in the armpits, but these anaerobes fail to grow on textiles, Callewaert said.

Wearing cotton clothes will reduce the problem to a certain extent, according to Callewaert. He said his aim is to solve the problem of body odor by transplanting microbes from people not affected by odor to those who have this problem. (GK)

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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