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Research: The dirtiest room in the house is the kitchen

The research revealed that the top three most heavily microbially contaminated areas within a kitchen are:

Sponge: This was the most heavily contaminated item in the kitchen with 35 percent of all the fecal Streptococci colonies founded in the sponge. These are the types of sponges many people use to clean their dishes.

Sink: All of the sinks tested and analyzed were positive for the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa and 25 percent were positive for fecal Streptococci. The level was greater compared with the typical bathroom sink.

Refrigerator. The place where chilled food is kept tested positive for many bacteria. The survey found that 88 percent of fridge internal locations were positive for P. aeruginosa and 25 percent were positive for fecal Streptococci.

As an example of the data collated, sinks were found to have a total concentration of 24,000 Ps. aeruginosa cells and 3,280 cells of the enterococci. The researchers examined for the following bacteria of interest: Escherichia coli, Clostridium perfringens, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella, Faecal streptococci, Staphylococcus aureus, and Bacillus cereus. The data collated related to a sample of kitchens within the U.K.

Fecal Streptococci can be found within stomachs and intestines of humans. These organisms are a practical and reliable indicators of fecal contamination of water. Ps. aeruginosa is a potential pathogen. The bacterium is a common pathogen isolated from patients and a cause of nosocomial infections such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and bacteremia.

In terms of remediation, Dr. Hughes advises: “You cannot specifically target different types of bacteria; these treatments remove and kill both the potentially hazardous bacterial strains and the non-harmful bacteria.” This means applying bleach solution for an appropriate contact time (three-minutes is suggested) and cleaning all work surfaces prior to food preparation. Dr. Hughes also reminds people to wash their hands prior to undertaking food preparation and ensuring that all food is cooked thoroughly.

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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