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28 February 2008

Comments

Ki

I was half asleep this morning when I heard about bacteria transported by rain and snow on either BBC radio or NPR today (Friday 02/29). It was quite interesting though I can't remember much of what was discussed. There was one common plant, the leaves of which were found to be loaded with bacteria and seemed to be much of the source for the airborne organism. Thanks for the links but you have to be a member of MUSC to be able to read the Science abstract.

jodi

I just read a short article in the newspaper about this, Pam. It's very interesting, but it didn't really surprise me. Didn't our mothers always tell us not to eat snow because there were 'germs' in it? (and we ate it anyway.) Do you suppose that this article--or more likely, the media hype that may be created when more 'popular' forms of media get hold of it--will generate another storm of worries over a pandemic? Even though the bacteria mentioned in the brief I read was Pseudomonas, and not likely to cause wilt in humans...:-)

Pam

Ki, I just fixed the link - so you should be able to read the abstract now (which is pasted into the post in it's entirety). I had forgotten that I had gone into Science through my work account. You won't be able to download the full pdf though, sorry about that.

Pam

Jodi, I'm heading out the door, heading up to Virginia - but I'll get back to your comment either later today or tomorrow. It is a good one.

Christopher C NC

So much for "pure as the driven snow." And when my pipes froze I collected the snow melt off the roof and drank it. But, hey if it's in the rain and snow, it's in the air we breathe too.

I'm of the opinion that you need to roll around in the dirt a bit to keep your immune system in top working condition. Biological rain and snow is just more exercise.

Ki

In response to Jodi, I heard an interview of one of the researchers on "Science Friday" . He said that the amount of bacteria in snow was minimal and you would ingest more bacteria with foods you normally consume. Essentially, bacteria are ubiquitous so not to worry about consuming a bit of snow but stay away from yellow snow. :)

Ki

In response to Jodi, I heard an interview of one of the researchers on "Science Friday" . He said that the amount of bacteria in snow was minimal and you would ingest more bacteria with foods you normally consume. Essentially, bacteria are ubiquitous so not to worry about consuming a bit of snow but stay away from yellow snow. :)

Pam

Jodi and Ki: the whole 'oh my God, there's a bacteria' fear that a bunch of folks have (bacteria = germ...I really despise the word 'germ') drives me nuts. We are, quite literally, covered in bacteria. The majority of them quite friendly, with perhaps a few tossed in that are opportunistic pathogens, if the conditions arise that favor their growth. I do think a predominant organisms found was Pseudomonas - which can be opportunistic pathogens (eg., Pseudomonas aeruginosa) in humans - but if snow fell out you, my guess is that the Pseudomonas in the snow will just shake hands with those already on your hands, etc. From a microbial diversity/ecology perspective - it will be interesting to see how this plays a role in mobility of microorganisms - globally, that is - and about transfer of genetic material between organisms. I have read the article in it's entirety yet, but I'll let you know if my perspective changes after I do.

Christopher: Pseudomonas, the organism that was one of the primary ones found, can live (barely, but sufficiently) in water for lengthy periods of time - it's what can develop into biofilms in catheters and other hospital equipment. I digress! I do believe that I ate my share of snow...and dirt as a child - so hey, no freaking out here. I love my microorganisms.

Ki, they're crazy-ubiquitious, that's for sure! I'm with you on the yellow snow though...

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