What does flying in a commercial airliner have in common with working at the office or relaxing at home?
According to a new study, the answer is the microbiome – the community of bacteria found in homes, offices and aircraft cabins. Believed to be the first to comprehensively assess the microbiome of aircraft, the study found that the bacterial communities accompanying airline passengers at 30,000 feet have much in common with the bacterial communities surrounding people in their homes and offices.
Using advanced sequencing technology, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University studied the bacteria tray tables, seat belt buckles and the handles of lavatory doors. This new information on the aircraft microbiome provides a baseline for further study, and could lead to improved techniques for maintaining healthy aircraft.
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