Washington : Cell phones actually reflect the personal microbial world of their owners and may be used as bacterial and environmental sensors, scientists say, reports PTI.
Researchers from the University of Oregon focused on the personal microbiome – the collection of microorganisms on items regularly worn or carried by a person. Researchers sequenced microbes from the dominant-hand index fingers and thumbs of 17 subjects and from the touchscreens of their smartphones.
The study found smartphones closely resembled the microbiome sampled from their owner’s finger, with 82 per cent of the most common bacteria on participants’ fingers also found on their phones. Women were found to be more closely connected, microbiologically speaking, to their phones than were men, researchers said. Although men and women were both statistically similar to their own phones, the relationship was stronger for women than for men.
The most commonly found bacteria were from three genera that are ubiquitous on and in humans: Streptococcus, which is commonly found in the mouth, and Staphylococcus and Corynebacterium, both common skin residents. The analyses focused on categorising whole microbial communities rather than identifying pathogens.