Badass bacteria are thriving in your washing machine

ResearchBlogging.orgby Piter Kehoma Boll

You probably have heard of bacteria (and archaeans) that live in extreme environments on Earth, such as hot springs or lakes with high salinity, where most lifeforms would die horribly in a few seconds. We usually think of those places as existing in some remote locations, in the deep sea or in protected areas far away from civilization.

But thanks to human technology, this kind of environment is now available right in our homes, in our dishwashers, washing machines and water heaters.


Buchnera, a genus of bacteria found in the gut of aphids (seen as the several spotted circles inside a gut cell here) was found in extremely hot home environments. Photo by J. White and N. Moran.*

On a recent study published on PeerJ, a group of scientist examined the community of microorganisms living in several home environments and found out that many species thrive in environments with high temperature, extremes pH or extreme concentrations of certain chemical compounds.

Some of the findings were rather unusual… For example, a bacterium found in places with extreme temperature was Buchnera, a genus usually associated with the gut of aphids.

You can read the full article here.

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Savage, A., Hills, J., Driscoll, K., Fergus, D., Grunden, A., & Dunn, R. (2016). Microbial diversity of extreme habitats in human homes PeerJ, 4 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.2376

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*Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic License.

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