Another “more germs than a toilet seat” study and resultant media explosion

I’m torn between wanting to ignore this story and wanting to attack the media reports on the study.   I think I’ll compromise on a minimum set of complaints. Firstly, the paper itself (“Deposition of respiratory virus pathogens on frequently touched surfaces at airports“) is more or less fine.   The authors used real-time PCR to look …

New #openaccess paper of interest: Airplane Cabin Microbiome

  New paper of interest: The Airplane Cabin Microbiome | SpringerLink Abstract: Serving over three billion passengers annually, air travel serves as a conduit for infectious disease spread, including emerging infections and pandemics. Over two dozen cases of in-flight transmissions have been documented. To understand these risks, a characterization of the airplane cabin microbiome is necessary. …

Research on mitigating risk from airborne pathogens in cars… but is there a risk?

Came across this study today “Airborne Pathogens inside Automobiles for Domestic Use: Assessing In-Car Air Decontamination Devices Using Staphylococcus aureus as the Challenge Bacterium”.   What struck me from the start was the Abstract which begins: Family cars represent ∼74% of the yearly global output of motorized vehicles. With a life expectancy of ∼8 decades in …

New papers on Microbiology of the Built Environment, August 27, 2016

Microbes found in ambulances Not surprisingly, bacteria could be detected after swabbing surfaces in ambulances. Detection and characterization of surface microbial contamination in emergency ambulances – Aketza Varona-Barquin – American Journal of Infection Control ($35.95) A cross-sectional study was performed in 10 emergency basic life support ambulances operating in Bilbao, Spain, to assess surface bacterial …

Tesla introduces “Bioweapon Defense Mode”

Tesla Motors showed off some tests of their amusingly-named “Bioweapon Defense Mode” on their blog earlier this week. While the demo is raising some skeptical eyebrows among actual biodefense experts, you don’t need crazy movie-plot scenarios to imagine the utility of a more serious approach to indoor air quality in vehicles — air quality in …

Videos of talks from “Microbiomes of the Built Environment: From Research to Application”

On April 11 there was a meeting in Washington DC that was part of an effort from a new study being conducted by the National Academies of Science, Medicine, and Engineering on “Microbiomes of the Built Environment”.  Videos and slides from the meeting have now been posted.  I have compiled them below. In addition, I …

International Metagenomics Project Representative? I Volunteer As Tribute!

One afternoon while making my way through another DNA extraction, I was eavesdropping over the lab benches, per usual, trying to keep my mind occupied.  I overheard my project manager and another undergraduate discussing an unusual project.  “Do you want to contact the Sacramento authorities to get clearance to swab the light rail, because talking …

Taxonomic Forensics in Metagenomics with In Silico Marker Panels

Introduction In 2013-2014, a metagenomics project called “Pathomap” collected 1,457 swab samples from the surfaces of all active subway stations throughout New York City (NYC), as well as samples from the Gowanus Canal and several parks. Each sample was sequenced to an average depth of 3.6 million reads (paired-end 125 nucleotides), generating a city-wide metagenomic …