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Lots of bacteria in your shoes and on your smartphone

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Vast populations of bacteria inhabit our shoes and on our cell phones.

The research

The researchers collected samples from widely used objects that we all manipulate on a daily basis: shoes and cell phones.

Scientists analyzed a large number of DNAs, as many as 2,486 samples from people intent on sporting events or while visiting museums and exhibitions, so they could trace the microbial species present.

The organisms

Most of them were prokaryotic organisms (life forms in which the nucleus with the genetic material is not separated from the rest of the cell) well known, but in 10% of the samples tested there was also a little more: microbes that were not yet known, but certainly includable in what can be defined as the bacterial dark matter.

Bacterial dark matter

To this day, 39 phyla are known, which can be thought of as the largest branches of the tree of life. Researchers know that only the tip of the iceberg of this realm is really known: there are species we know very little about because they are extremely rare or because they cannot be observed in the laboratory, and others that are certainly ignored completely.

The discovery

Another 9 phyla, belonging to the bacterial dark matter were identified by means of this study .The scientists found among the collected samples specimens of Edwardsbactera, that is, very rare bacteria discovered for the first time in a groundwater Of underground water.

Still, in another sample was the dna of Diapherotrites, equally rare microorganisms that had been detected in water inside a mine.

Where they lurk

The places of their greatest prevalence are: at our feet, that is, in our shoes, and in our hands, right on the smartphone.

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