If you thought you were just doing it to keep the neighbourhood aesthetically pleasing, think again. Bacteria from dog faeces is blowing in the wind……..
It’s a “bugs” world
Scientists have known for years that the air we breathe is definitely not sterile – it is loaded with bugs (bacteria, fungi and viruses).
Most of the “bugs” riding the air waves are harmless, but a few are capable of causing health problems. Studies have implicated air borne bacteria in asthma attacks and seasonal allergies, but little is known about these guys.
Who is in the air ?
Researches from the University of Colorado wanted to make the acquaintance of these air borne bacteria who live among us.
Air samples were collected from 3 American cities and one small town during summer and winter months. The DNA in the air samples was analyzed to determine
- how many bacteria were present
- which bacteria were present
NOTE : DNA sampling ensures that all the “bugs” are “seen”.
Every breath you take, includes a lung full of bacteria
The researchers confirmed that we share our air with a range of “bugs” and that each city has its own culture.
A doggie atmosphere
The researchers then asked where do these guys come from ?
They compared the air sample residents with the bacteria typically found on leaf surfaces, in the soil, in lakes and seas and on human, cow and dog faeces.
Disturbingly in two of the cities, particularly during the winter months, the major guys swirling around in the air looked pretty much the same as the guys that hang out on dog pooh.
PS. I won’t broadcast the locations of the two dog dooh cities – don’t want to create a panic.
Dog dooh may be good for you
The idea that the air you’re breathing is laced with bacteria that are wafting off Fido’s pooh is not particularly appealing, but it might not actually be that bad for you……….
But if you’re feeling a bit turned off – let this story serve as motivation to grab the poop scoop and pick it up !Sources of bacteria in outdoor air across cities in the midwestern United States. Applied and Environmental Microbiology (2011) 77(18): 6350-6356. M. Bowers, A. P. Sullivan, E. K. Costello, J. L. Collett, R. Knight, N. Fierer.
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Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below…..