Staphylococci: Colonizers and Pathogens of Human Skin

Rosanna Coates; Josephine Moran; Malcolm J Horsburgh


Future Microbiol. 2014;9(1):75-91. 

In This Article

Life on the Human Epidermis Leaves Bacteria at Risk of Desiccation

Bacterial survival and growth on skin is limited by low relative humidity (RH) and high salt conditions produce osmotic stress. Both S. aureus and S. epidermidis can grow at low RH levels. Whilst Bacillus subtilis, E. coli and Pseudomonas fluorescens require 92–94.5% RH to grow, S. aureus can grow at 87% RH and S. epidermidis requires only 81–84% RH.[123] The extent to which this differential growth capability provides S. epidermidis with a competitive advantage is not known.