Bacteria, fungi and bacteriophages: How germs are spread in subways

U-Bahn lines have communities typical of Bacteria, but only in the morning. In the evening rush-hour traffic sees it differently. The researchers have now found in Hong Kong. The research results can be transferred to Germany.

Bacterial communities in metro networks change in the course of the day in a characteristic way. An analysis of the Hong Kong Metro shows that many germ groups are in the morning, still typical for the respective line. In the evening rush traffic on the other hand, mixes these various groups to a relatively uniform community.

Also transferable to Germany

In the morning, each line has its own set of microbial characteristics, the mirrors during the rush-hour traffic, the areas along the route, says study leader Gianni Panagiotou, the University of Hong Kong, one of the researchers, in the meantime, at the Hans-Knöll-Institute in Jena. In the evening, these bacteria come together to form a single Microbiome that colonizes the entire System. German experts believe that this structure in the approach areas at the local Metropolitan-transferable.

Earlier researchers had angles, analyzes the composition of mikrobi omen in subways of major cities, but from different views. So a Team in New York stayed on the spatial distribution in the city by taking samples to the U-Bahn stations, they analyzed which bacteria are found in which parts of the city. In the Metropolitan area of Boston, however, scientists have examined, settled, on which surface materials which germs.

Researchers find bacteria, fungi, and bacteriophages

The Team Panagiotou sent against Volunteers during the rush several times in the morning and in the evening, half an hour in various lines of approximately 200-Kilometer-long network that carries daily, approximately 4.7 million people. The helper should be handles to shut and bar hold, and then her hand were areas on the genome of the microorganisms studied. If five million people per day use the subway, we would have to find the imprint of the whole city, Panagiotou cited in a communication of the publishing house Cell Press.

Results: The majority of the germs were common residents of human skin like the researchers in the journal Cell Reports report. About half belonged to the group of actinomycetes (51,3%), a quarter of which were Proteobacteria (26,6%), Firmicutes (11.4 percent) were abundantly represented. Most common type of the actinomycetes counting skin germ Propionibacterium acnes was 29 percent. In addition to bacteria, the researchers also found fungi and bacteriophage, however, is far rarer.

Here is the Newsletter of ‘health’ subscribe

Reports, Videos, backgrounds: From Monday to Friday, provided you FOCUS Online with the most important messages from the health Department. Here you can subscribe to the Newsletter easily and free of charge.

In the morning, resistance genes against antibiotics were harder to find than in the evening

Overall, the researchers were able to in the morning, certain subway lines on the basis of the bacteria to identify, in the evening, this was hardly. What is striking is the analysis of bacteria, the resistance genes against antibiotics (ARG). In the morning we found the ARGs in only a few lines, in the evening, we were able in all to prove, says Panagiotou. The time of sampling (morning unlike in the afternoon) was the most important factor for the composition and diversity of the community, the researchers write.

In the study, the researchers not primarily to identify health risks, but rather to take stock. In General, the busy lines was no more dangerous pathogens on even more germs with resistance genes. The study should contribute to transport can create planners train compartments so that the health was as compromised a little. This also applies to other publicly accessible places, such as airports, airplanes, trains, buses and public toilets.

The majority of the germs is not a threat

Stefanie Kampmeier from the University hospital in Münster, the results of the study can be generally applied to transport in Germany. A threat to the passengers, but. In principle, each of us has a certain amount of bacterial flora on the skin, the skin function is important, says the specialist for Hygiene and environmental medicine. You should be aware that we are constantly surrounded by bacteria, and without healthy people at risk. If possible, you should, especially in the winter months, when there are more about cold viruses are on the road, after the in contact with, the washing of hands and not the Hand through the face, she advises.

Ernst Tabori, Medical Director of the German Advisory centre for Hygiene (BZH) in Freiburg, assumes that the results of the study apply in principle for German cities. The results of the investigation are understandable. The majority of the germs is not threat. Apply the knowledge of let distribution and movement patterns for the planning of transport. Thus, it is advantageous to select such materials to clean the well and disinfect if need be – the are so smooth and closed, and a few joints and edges.

In the Video: do you suffer from unpleasant bloating? What foods help against it FOCUS Online/Glomex Do you suffer from unpleasant bloating? What foods help against it