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Title: Athletic equipment microbiota are shaped by interactions with human skin

Background: Americans spend the vast majority of their lives in built environments. Even traditionally outdoor pursuits, such as exercising, are often now performed indoors. Bacteria that colonize these indoor ecosystems are primarily derived from the human microbiome. The modes of human interaction with indoor surfaces and the physical conditions associated with each surface type determine the steady-state ecology of the microbial community. Results: Bacterial assemblages associated with different surfaces in three athletic facilities, including floors, mats, benches, free weights, and elliptical handles, were sampled every other hour (8 am to 6 pm) for 2 days. Surface and equipment type had a stronger influence on bacterial community composition than the facility in which they were housed. Surfaces that were primarily in contact with human skin exhibited highly dynamic bacterial community composition and non-random co-occurrence patterns, suggesting that different host microbiomes—shaped by selective forces—were being deposited on these surfaces through time. Bacterial assemblages found on the floors and mats changed less over time, and species co-occurrence patterns appeared random, suggesting more neutral community assembly. Conclusions: These longitudinal patterns highlight the dramatic turnover of microbial communities on surfaces in regular contact with human skin. By uncovering these longitudinal patterns, this study promotes amore » better understanding of microbe-human interactions within the built environment.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [2] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [2]
  1. Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL (United States); Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Lemont, IL (United States)
  2. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Lemont, IL (United States); Univ. of Chicago, Chicago, IL (United States)
  3. Univ. of Chicago, Chicago, IL (United States)
  4. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Lemont, IL (United States)
  5. MO BIO Lab., Inc., Carlsbad, CA (United States)
  6. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Lemont, IL (United States); Univ. of Chicago, Chicago, IL (United States); Marine Biological Lab., Woods Hole, MA (United States); Zhejiang Univ., Hangzhou (China)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
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Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 3; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2049-2618
BioMed Central
Research Org:
Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES gym microbiome; athletic equipment; microbiology; niche communities; next-generation sequencing