Beards May Actually Hold The Key To Saving Mankind

by : Tom Percival on : 03 Feb 2016 18:03
Scanning electron micrograph of Escherichia coliwikimedia

Good news for bearded men everywhere – your facial hair could help save mankind.

Scientists believe that bacteria found in dirty beards could potentially hold the solution to so called ‘superbugs’ – drug-resistant infections which antibiotics and modern medicines have no effect on.


It’s feared that the growing issue of antibiotic resistant bacteria may plunge us into a medical dark age where simple treatable infections and injuries could become fatal.

0818d2df-1ed0-40b2-a8ed-ee452d4775daWarner Brothers

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention warned last year that drug-resistant superbugs could kill 10 million people a year by 2050.

However, scientists at University College London made a shocking find while investigating studies which had previously shown that people had poo bacteria in their beards.


These researchers found no trace of sh*t in men’s beards – instead they found something far better.

giphy (6)
giphy (6)

Dr. Adam Roberts from University College London said:

What we do is grid out the individual bacteria on an agar plate which has been pre-inoculated with an indicator strain. And then we see if that indicator strain can grow right up to the individual colonies from the beards or from anywhere else that we’ve got these bacteria from.

And we found, quite surprisingly, that the beard isolates were quite capable of killing the indicator strain that we have; showing that they actually produce antibiotics themselves.

giphy (5)
giphy (5)

Of around one hundred bacteria isolates taken from 20 beards, around 25 per cent showed antibiotic activity against their indicator strain.

Roberts is now asking members of the public to send in swab samples to his lab from places where bacteria might be thriving, and says the results from what they’ve received so far are promising.

The team have a selection of around 50 different bacteria which can kill multiple indicator strains including a multi-drug resistant E.coli from a urinary tract infection.

End of the Road Festival 2013 - DorsetTom Percival

He added:

These[samples] include also Candida albicans [yeast infections] and MRSA [Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus]. So we’re concentrating our efforts now on finding out exactly what these bacteria are producing, because there’s just a small possibility that it might be a novel antibiotic.

So, incredibly, beards may hold the key to humanity’s future. Just don’t tell the razor companies!

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Tom Percival

More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism. Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV. He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.

Topics: Health


  1. Metro

    Bacteria found in people’s filthy beards ‘could save millions of lives’