Plenty Of Microbes Found On New York City ATMs

Posted: Nov 18 2016, 10:15pm CST | by , Updated: Nov 18 2016, 10:40pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Plenty of Microbes Found on New York City ATMs
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Study says ATM keypads are covered in bacteria and most of them come from human skin, household surfaces and food traces.

Your Automated Teller Machines are not just a source of withdrawing cash. They can dispense bacteria too.

A latest study reveals that ATM keypads are covered in germs. Given the fact that thousands of people use ATMs every day, the finding is not a surprise.

Most of these microbes come from human skin, household surfaces or traces of food and are most likely not harmful.

Researchers swabbed the keypads of 66 ATMs across New York City and examined the samples. The most abundant bacteria on the samples were normal human skin microbes similar to the ones found on household surfaces such as kitchen, pillows, restrooms or television. Traces of chicken, fish and other seafood were also found on ATMs, suggesting that the DNA from a meal may remain on a person’s hand and transferred to the ATM keypad upon use.

“Our results suggest that ATM keypads integrate microbes from different sources, including the human microbiome, foods, and potentially novel environmental organisms adapted to air or surfaces,” said co-researcher Jane Carlton, a professor of biology at New York University.

“DNA obtained from ATM keypads may therefore provide a record of both human behavior and environmental sources of microbes.”

Researchers also found that ATMs in launderettes and stores had the highest number of bacteria with the most prominent being lactic acid, a bacterium which is usually found in rotten plants or milk products.

In the samples taken from Manhattan, researchers also found bacteria associated with spoiled backed goods, which reflects people likely used ATM right after eating or handling baked foods.

Though, researchers have taken the samples from three New York boroughs: Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn as well as four ATMs from outside but they did not found any significant difference in the ATMs located outdoors verses indoors.

“Our results suggest that ATM keypads amalgamate microbial assemblages from different sources, including the human microbiome, eukaryotic food species, and potentially novel extremophilic taxa adapted to air or surfaces in the built environment. DNA obtained from ATM keypads may thus provide a record of both human behavior and environmental sources of microbes.” Study concludes.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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