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National Survey Shows Different Bacteria on Cellphones and Shoes

From the June 9, 2020 article at UC Davis

Microbes Mostly Harmless, Include Groups Barely Known to Science

“They found that shoes and cellphones from the same person consistently had distinct communities of microbes. Cellphone microbes reflected those found on people, while shoes carried microbes characteristic of soil. This is consistent with earlier results.

The shoe microbes were also more diverse than those found on a person’s phone.”…

…”Surprisingly, a substantial proportion of the bacteria came from groups that researchers call “microbial dark matter.” These microbes are difficult to grow and study in a lab setting and thus have been compared to invisible “dark matter” that astronomers think makes up much of the universe.

Since they are so difficult to grow in a lab, these dark matter groups have only been discovered as scientists have used genetic sequencing technology to look for microbes in the world around us. Although many of the dark microbial groups come from remote or extreme environments, such as boiling acid springs and nutrient-poor underground aquifers, some have been found in more mundane habitats, such as soil.

“Perhaps we were naïve, but we did not expect to see such a high relative abundance of bacteria from these microbial dark matter groups on these samples,” Eisen said. 

A number of these dark microbe groups were found in more than 10 percent of samples, with two groups, Armatimonadetes and Patescibacteria, being found in almost 50 percent of swabs and somewhat more frequently in those from shoes than those from phones. Armatimonadetes is known to be widespread in soil.  

“A remarkable fraction of people are traveling around with representatives from these uncultured groups on commonplace objects,” Coil said.”

August 13, 2020 Posted by | biology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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