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Bacteria in the air?

About microscopic forms of life, including Bacteria, Archea, protozoans, algae and fungi. Topics relating to viruses, viroids and prions also belong here.

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Bacteria in the air?

Postby stopherlogic » Tue Oct 07, 2008 6:10 pm

What would you say makes up the airborne bacteria in your average room? For example one frequently populated by humans but not much else. I assume it would be skin bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and staphylococcus epidermis. Am I right?
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Postby alextemplet » Tue Oct 07, 2008 6:27 pm

I don't know much about airborne bacteria but I would guess so. One thing I do know that I learned in my micro lab is that, on average, a single cubic meter of air contains about one billion bacteria. Talk about cool stuff!
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Postby MrMistery » Tue Oct 07, 2008 7:36 pm

Are you sure about that alex? As I remember it from the old days I was taking micro, it was 100 bacteria/cubic meter of air. ! billion does sound a little over the top if you ask me...
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Postby alextemplet » Tue Oct 07, 2008 9:08 pm

That's what my professor said; I don't know where he got that information. It would be a nice thing to investigate and find out for sure.
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Postby MichaelXY » Wed Oct 08, 2008 1:09 am

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Postby biohazard » Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:33 am

MichaelXY's links at least indicate that the bacterial load in the air is relatively small. (And after all, why wouldn't it - most bacteria don't produce spores specifically meant for airborne spreading as far as I know) I thought fungal spores, on the other hand, would've been much more common in the air, but at least quick googling* gave me values ranging from 50 to 500 CFU/m3, which is quite close to the amount of bacteria.

*(e.g. http://www.commhealth.net/environmental ... s.asp?ID=4)

I must admit I thought there was much more microbes floating around us. But it seems you always learn!
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Postby stopherlogic » Wed Oct 08, 2008 7:02 am

Cheers for the links guys, I am considering a final year uni project sampling airborne bacteria that's why I was asking the question. I also want to sample fungus as well but don't know if I will have time to do both. I am going to be looking for patterns relating to population in various places etc.
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Postby MrMistery » Mon Oct 20, 2008 11:46 pm

I was wrong, but still a lot closer than alex's professor.
On a serious note, I hope it was just a misunderstanding. That's a pretty big error for a college professor to make
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Postby alextemplet » Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:14 am

Yeah it is. He's an immigrant, though; English is a second language for him. Might be that he made a mistake in translation. Still a serious error but it's at least forgiveable; I've done the same myself in some languages.
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Postby victor » Fri Oct 31, 2008 2:26 pm

well I can say that it depends on the locations. Like in my country (tropical country), tiny things in the air are so many and I would say they're not bacteria. They're fungal spores, which ready to contaminate every culture medium if the person who works carelessly :p
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