Office bacteria all around us, especially in men's offices

May 30, 2012

Men's offices have significantly more bacteria than women's, and the office bacterial communities of New York and San Francisco are indistinguishable, according to a study published May 30 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.

"Humans are spending an increasing amount of time indoors, yet we know little about the diversity of bacteria and viruses where we live, work and play," remarks Dr. Scott Kelley, lead author on the study. "This study provides detailed baseline information about the rich in typical office settings and insight into the sources of these organisms."

The report includes the characterization of bacterial identity and abundance in offices in New York, San Francisco, and Tucson. The researchers, led by Scott Kelley of University of California, San Diego, identified more than 500 bacterial genera in offices in the three cities, the most abundant of which tended to come from or the nasal, oral, or intestinal . They also found that chairs and phones had a high abundance of bacteria, while the abundance on the desktop, keyboard, and mouse was somewhat lower.

They also found that offices inhabited by men had a higher bacterial abundance than women's, but the diversity of the communities didn't show any significant differences.

Explore further: For cells, internal stress leads to unique shapes

More information: Hewitt KM, Gerba CP, Maxwell SL, Kelley ST (2012) Office Space Bacterial Abundance and Diversity in Three Metropolitan Areas. PLoS ONE 7(5): e37849. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037849

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

You are not what you eat

Nov 16, 2010

The types of gut bacteria that populate the guts of primates depend on the species of the host as well as where the host lives and what they eat. A study led by Howard Ochman at Yale University examines the gut microbial ...

Public restrooms ripe with bacteria, study says

Nov 23, 2011

Everyone wonders what bugs might be lurking in public bathrooms. Now researchers are using novel genetic sequencing methods to answer this question, revealing a plethora of bacteria all around, from the doors and the floors ...

Study examines, compares bacteria in the nose and throat

Jun 21, 2010

Scientists have completed the most comprehensive comparative analysis to date of bacterial communities inhabiting the human nose and throat, which could provide new insights into why some individuals become colonized with ...

Recommended for you

For cells, internal stress leads to unique shapes

14 hours ago

From far away, the top of a leaf looks like one seamless surface; however, up close, that smooth exterior is actually made up of a patchwork of cells in a variety of shapes and sizes. Interested in how these ...

Adventurous bacteria

15 hours ago

To reproduce or to conquer the world? Surprisingly, bacteria also face this problem. Theoretical biophysicists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have now shown how these organisms should ...

Revealing camouflaged bacteria

18 hours ago

A research team at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has discovered an protein family that plays a central role in the fight against the bacterial pathogen Salmonella within the cells. The so cal ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

More vets turn to prosthetics to help legless pets

A 9-month-old boxer pup named Duncan barreled down a beach in Oregon, running full tilt on soft sand into YouTube history and showing more than 4 million viewers that he can revel in a good romp despite lacking ...

Robotics goes micro-scale

(Phys.org) —The development of light-driven 'micro-robots' that can autonomously investigate and manipulate the nano-scale environment in a microscope comes a step closer, thanks to new research from the ...