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Reaching for the Lysol Now

Human skin bacteria makes up between a quarter and almost a third of the bacterial samples isolated from office spaces, a team of researchers from Arizona, California, and Ontario report in mSystems. Nose-dwelling bacteria, they add, comes in close behind.

First author John Chase from Northern Arizona University and Biota Technology and his colleagues monitored nine offices — three each in Flagstaff, San Diego, and Toronto — for a year. They collected samples during four six-week intervals and used 16S rRNA gene sequencing to profile the bacterial communities present.

ProteobacteriaFirmicutes, and Actinobacteria were dominant phyla across all the sampling locations in all the offices and in each of the three cities, the researchers report.

But, as Discover's D-brief blog notes, most of the bacteria Chase and his colleagues found come from unknown sources. Since this portion of the office microbiomes differed by city, they suggest that it could be derived from the outside environment. The three cities they studied have differing climates and ecosystems

"I believe that the differences we see are regional differences," Chase tells D-brief.