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Curr Microbiol. 2013 Nov;67(5):557-63. doi: 10.1007/s00284-013-0401-y. Epub 2013 Jun 7.

Identification of household bacterial community and analysis of species shared with human microbiome.

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ChunLab, Inc., Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


Microbial populations in indoor environments, where we live and eat, are important for public health. Various bacterial species reside in the kitchen, and refrigerators, the major means of food storage within kitchens, can be a direct source of food borne illness. Therefore, the monitoring of microbiota in the refrigerator is important for food safety. We investigated and compared bacterial communities that reside in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator and on the seat of the toilet, which is recognized as highly colonized by microorganisms, in ten houses using high-throughput sequencing. Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, and Bacteroidetes were predominant in refrigerator and toilet samples. However, Proteobacteria was more abundant in the refrigerator, and Firmicutes was more abundant in the toilet. These household bacterial communities were compared with those of human skin and gut to identify potential sources of household bacteria. Bacterial communities from refrigerators and toilets shared more species in common with human skin than gut. Opportunistic pathogens, including Propionibacterium acnes, Bacteroides vulgatus, and Staphylococcus epidermidis, were identified as species shared with human skin and gut microbiota. This approach can provide a general background of the household microbiota and a potential method of source-tracking for public health purposes.

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