Navigation Links
The microbes you inhale on the New York City subway

The microbial population in the air of the New York City subway system is nearly identical to that of ambient air on the city streets. This research, published ahead of print in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, establishes an important baseline, should it become necessary to monitor the subway's air for dispersal of potentially dangerous microbes. Also, the combination of new methodologies in the study, including fast collection of aerosols and rapid sequencing technology, provide an efficient means for monitoring which was not previously available.

The results "are strong testimony for the efficiency of the train pumping system for ventilation," says principal investigator Norman R. Pace of the University of Colorado, Boulder. The wind one feels while walking across a subway grate as the subway clatters beneath also demonstrates just how effective that system is, he says. The only obvious differences in the subway's microbial population are the somewhat higher proportion of skin microbiota, and the doubled density of the fungal population, which Pace suggests may be due to rotting wood. "I was impressed by the similarity of [subway] and outdoor air," he says.

The researchers used a high tech mechanism to collect air at around 300 liters per minute (L/min), a big jump on the previous state of the art, which swallowed 12 L/min. That enabled collecting sufficient volume of aira couple of cubic metersto take the bacterial census within 20 minutes, instead of after "hours," says Pace. And analysis by sequencing is far faster and more thorough then using culture.

Pace notes that until now, the microbial content of subway air was unknown, and that the microbiology of indoor air is an emerging field of scientific inquiry. His research was funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, through its Microbiology of the Built Environment program, which has made 64 grants totaling $28 million to date.

"While it is difficult to predict what will be discovered on the frontier of scientific inquiry, the opportunity exists to better understand these complex microbial ecosystems and how they affect health and the environment. We expect that someday this knowledge will influence design and construction practices and other industrial processes," says Paula Olsiewski, program director, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.


Contact: Jim Sliwa
American Society for Microbiology

Related biology news :

1. Measuring microbes makes wetland health monitoring more affordable, says MU researcher
2. Blood vessels sniff gut microbes to regulate blood pressure
3. The lifetime journeys of manure-based microbes
4. Microbes team up to boost plants stress tolerance
5. Gut microbes could determine the severity of melamine-induced kidney disease
6. Lack of energy an enemy to antibiotic-resistant microbes
7. FASEB SRC announces conference: Gastrointestinal Tract XV: Epithelia, Microbes, Inflammation & Cancer
8. Microbiologists eavesdrop on the hidden lives of microbes
9. They hunt, they kill, they cheat: Single-celled algae shed light on social lives of microbes
10. Even in same vineyard, different microbes may create variations in wine grapes
11. Not without my microbes
Post Your Comments:
(Date:3/30/2017)... 30, 2017 Trends, opportunities and forecast in ... by technology (fingerprint, AFIS, iris recognition, facial recognition, hand ... by end use industry (government and law enforcement, commercial ... banking, and others), and by region ( North ... Asia Pacific , and the Rest of ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... March 27, 2017  Catholic Health Services (CHS) ... Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics for achieving Stage 6 ... sm . In addition, CHS previously earned a ... using an electronic medical record (EMR). ... level of EMR usage in an outpatient setting.  ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017 The report "Gesture Recognition ... Biometric), Industry, and Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the ... a CAGR of 29.63% between 2017 and 2022. ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... the Netherlands and LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. ... The Institute of Cancer Research, London ... use MMprofiler™ with SKY92, SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients ... trial known as MUK nine . The University of ... trial, which is partly funded by Myeloma UK, and ICR ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Singh Biotechnology today announced ... to SBT-100, its novel anti-STAT3 (Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3) B ... to cross the cell membrane and bind intracellular STAT3 and inhibit its function. ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... FirstHand program has won a US2020 STEM Mentoring Award. Representatives of the FirstHand ... Excellence in Volunteer Experience from US2020. , US2020’s mission is to change the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... SomaGenics announced the receipt of a Phase ... (Single Cell), expected to be the first commercially available ... from single cells using NGS methods. The NIH,s recent ... development of approaches to analyze the heterogeneity of cell ... for measuring levels of mRNAs in individual cells have ...
Breaking Biology Technology: