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article imageMen and women deposit different types of bacteria

By Tim Sandle     Dec 20, 2015 in Science
The types of bacteria found in the home vary according to whether more men or women live in the house, as well as whether household pets are present.
The variations are the basis of a new study reviewed by Scientific American, based on analysis of dust extracted from different households. The dust was sampled from the tops of doors in some 1,200 homes across the U.S. The survey has thrown up some interesting observations:
Men shed more bacteria than women. This is due biological differences, although it is also influenced by body size and hygiene practices.
If a house has a dog, this significantly alters the pattern of microbes. This is far more extensively different to whether a home has a cat.
The microbial 'signatures' of individuals are sufficiently different that by simply analyzing the bacteria in the dust, researchers can predict how many men, women, cats or dogs are present in the home.
The average household has over 2,000 different types of fungi.
The types of fungi provided clues about a home's location.
The typical home has over 7,000 different types of bacteria.
Several types of bacteria in the typical home are linked to feces.
However, the majority of microbes are harmless, although some can cause allergies.
Speaking with BBC Science, Dr Noah Fierer, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, who led the research, said: "This is really basic natural history we are investigating here. We have known for a long time that microbes live in our homes. What we are doing is now is old-fashioned science, to see how they vary across space."
The research is published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, in a paper titled "The ecology of microscopic life in household dust."
In related news, Digital Journal reported by looking at bacteria and fungi living in the soil beneath a decomposing body, scientists can now assess the time, and even the place, of of death.
More about Bacteria, microbiome, Microbiota, microflora, Men
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