Breaking News
September 25, 2018 - Gene therapy approach could help treat mitochondrial diseases
September 25, 2018 - Few Yogurt Products Qualify As Low-Sugar
September 25, 2018 - Eye disease can cause blindness, and it’s on the rise
September 25, 2018 - Pawnshop density linked to gun-related suicides, Stanford study finds
September 25, 2018 - Pioneering procedure for common prostate condition offered by The London Clinic
September 25, 2018 - Number of people with respiratory diseases likely to increase if UK air pollution remains unchecked
September 25, 2018 - FARXIGA receives positive results in Phase III DECLARE-TIMI 58 cardiovascular outcomes trial
September 25, 2018 - New program to reduce harmful stress effectively improves mood in cancer patients
September 24, 2018 - Florence’s Lingering Threat: Mold – Drugs.com MedNews
September 24, 2018 - For professional baseball players, faster hand-eye coordination linked to batting performance
September 24, 2018 - Bill for later school start times is defeated, but Stanford sleep specialist isn’t
September 24, 2018 - For Heart Failure Patients, Mitral Valve Procedure Improved Outcomes
September 24, 2018 - Successful recovery from addiction means more than achieving abstinence
September 24, 2018 - New nanoplatform technology may reverse drug-resistance in renal cell carcinoma
September 24, 2018 - October 1918 marks the centenary of Spanish Flu that claimed more lives than World War I
September 24, 2018 - LGBT community reports more number of poor mental health days than general population
September 24, 2018 - New research suggests power of zebrafish as tool for cancer drug discovery
September 24, 2018 - New study finds height as possible risk factor for developing varicose veins
September 24, 2018 - Researchers compare weight loss results of online and in-person diabetes prevention program
September 24, 2018 - New HER2 PET Study Uses Affibody’s ABY-025 Tracer to Individualize Breast Cancer Treatment
September 24, 2018 - Drug combination offers more effective care for patients suffering miscarriage
September 24, 2018 - Tallness linked to varicose veins, Stanford study says
September 24, 2018 - For Heart Failure Patients, Mitral Valve Procedure Improved Outcomes
September 24, 2018 - Ecstasy drug makes octopuses more social
September 24, 2018 - Immediate compression therapy could cut risk of complications after deep-vein thrombosis
September 24, 2018 - Transcatheter mitral valve repair reduces mortality for patients with mitral regurgitation
September 24, 2018 - First intracranial aneurysm patients treated with BRAVO Flow Diverter after CE mark approval
September 24, 2018 - ‘Physicians of the mouth’? Dentists absorb the medical billing drill
September 24, 2018 - People more likely to believe those with confident tone of voice than with accent
September 24, 2018 - Harmony Biosciences Presents 5-Year Data On Pitolisant At International Narcolepsy Symposium
September 24, 2018 - Blood test may identify gestational diabetes risk in first trimester
September 24, 2018 - Height may be risk factor for varicose veins | News Center
September 24, 2018 - King’s commemorates opening of new NMR facility with one-day symposium
September 24, 2018 - Eisai receives approval for partial label change of DC Bead device for transcatheter arterial embolization
September 24, 2018 - High-resolution genomic map gives scientists unprecedented view of brain development
September 24, 2018 - Researchers find impact of neurobehavioral symptoms on employment in adults with TBI
September 24, 2018 - Alexion announces positive results from Phase 3 PREVENT study of Soliris in patients with NMOSD
September 24, 2018 - First evaluation of benefits, harms of Alzheimer’s screening for family members of older adults
September 24, 2018 - Ancora Heart announces positive data of study evaluating AccuCinch Ventricular Repair System
September 24, 2018 - Children of mothers using cannabis may start using it at an earlier age, finds study
September 24, 2018 - Gilead Sciences plans to launch authorized generic versions of Epclusa and Harvoni in the US
September 24, 2018 - Most patients who underwent transcatheter valve replacement experience prosthesis-patient mismatch
September 24, 2018 - Lumos acquires license for LUM-201 drug that promotes secretion of growth hormone
September 24, 2018 - New study provides basis for Air Canada to change its facial hair policy for aircrew
September 24, 2018 - Infant walkers lead to thousands of emergency visits for babies
September 24, 2018 - Genes predicting person’s height may provide clues about causes of varicose veins
September 24, 2018 - EPA Plan Will Maintain Carbon Emissions From Power Plants
September 24, 2018 - Characterizing pig hippocampus could improve translational neuroscience
September 24, 2018 - Element3 Health reports social and mental engagement play key role in overall health
September 24, 2018 - Paralympic medalists support Fight for Sight’s unique virtual event
September 24, 2018 - ADCETRIS drug receives approval in Japan as frontline treatment option for Hodgkin lymphoma
September 24, 2018 - Public awareness of urological conditions found to be alarmingly low across Europe
September 24, 2018 - Fitter Folks Suffer Milder Strokes: Study
September 24, 2018 - Novel botulinum toxin compound relieves chronic pain
September 24, 2018 - CHMP recommends approval of Gilenya for treatment of multiple sclerosis in children, adolescents
September 24, 2018 - National Friendly’s private medical insurance is a hit with women living in the South East
September 24, 2018 - Academics receive prestigious awards for achievements in blood pressure research
September 24, 2018 - Obese pregnant women can restrict weight gain safely with proper nutrition guidance
September 24, 2018 - CHMP adopts positive opinion of Takeda’s ALUNBRIG for treatment of ALK+ non-small cell lung cancer
September 24, 2018 - China NMPA approves LENVIMA for treatment of unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma
September 24, 2018 - A new approach for finding Alzheimer’s treatments
September 24, 2018 - USC research uncovers previously unknown genetic risk factor for dementia
September 24, 2018 - Study examining mental health among students finds significant disparities in treatment across race
September 24, 2018 - Breakthrough discovery paves way for future test to identify drowsy drivers
September 24, 2018 - Transcatheter mitral-valve repair in patients with heart failure
September 24, 2018 - Study opens new avenues for treatment of Laing distal myopathy
September 24, 2018 - Stroke Facts | cdc.gov
September 24, 2018 - Sarcolipin tricks muscle cells into using more energy, burning fat
September 24, 2018 - Enrollment in opioid controlled substance agreement reduces primary care visits
September 24, 2018 - UTA researchers patent new smart seat cushion technology that helps prevent painful ulcers
September 24, 2018 - Second HPV-Related Primary Cancers Common in Survivors
September 24, 2018 - How a virus destabilizes the genome
September 24, 2018 - Old letters provide insight into Spanish flu pandemic horror
September 23, 2018 - Smart textile-based soft robotic exosuit helps wearers save energy and traverse difficult terrain
September 23, 2018 - New research hub to drive radical change in development and manufacturing of vaccines
September 23, 2018 - AHA: For Hispanics, Neighborhood May Be Key Factor in Heart Disease Risk
September 23, 2018 - Excessive airway nerves tied to more severe asthma symptoms, study finds
September 23, 2018 - Study highlights need to remain vigilant in maintaining key infection control processes
September 23, 2018 - Novel therapeutic strategy for blood vessel related disorders, such as cancer and retinopathy
September 23, 2018 - New naturally occurring antibiotic found effective against Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

Microbes—from bacteria to viruses to fungi—are everywhere, including within and on the human body. So it’s no surprise, the researchers said, that a kitchen appliance would be hosting them.

So do people need to worry about getting sick from their dishwashers? No, said Erica Hartmann, an assistant professor at Northwestern University who was not involved with the study.

“The risk is probably in the realm of a shark attack,” she said. That is, most people face little to no risk, but there are select groups who may be at higher risk—in this case, people with conditions that weaken their immune defenses.

Dishwashers are an interesting case when it comes to microbes because they are actually an “extreme” habitat, Hartmann explained.

“People don’t think of them that way. It’s just your dishwasher. But it really is an extreme environment,” said Hartmann, who studies the microbiology of the indoor environment.

Dishwashers create constantly fluctuating conditions—wet to dry, high heat to cooler temperatures, low to high acidity. They also harbor mixtures of detergents and dinner scraps. So, only certain microbes will thrive.

The new study looked at which bacteria and fungi are actually dwelling there, and what factors seem to influence that microbial makeup.

Specifically, the European researchers took samples from the rubber seals of 24 household dishwashers.

Overall, they found, the most common bacteria included Pseudomonas, Escherichia and Acinetobacter—all of which have strains that are “opportunistic pathogens.” That means they are normally harmless, but can cause infections in people with a compromised immune system.

The most common types of fungus were Candida, Cryptococcus and Rhodotorula—which also include opportunistic pathogens.

Nina Gunde-Cimerman, a professor of microbiology at the University of Ljubljana, in Slovenia, worked on the study.

She said dishwashers and other microbe-hosting appliances are “generally safe” for healthy people. It’s “sensitive groups,” she said, who may need to be more cautious.

Gunde-Cimerman said she and her colleagues suspect dishwashers might play a role in fungal infections called mycoses in certain immune-compromised patients. A fungus commonly found in those patients, she said, is known as Exophiala dermatitidis, or black yeast.

And while that fungus is “hardly known in nature,” she said, it’s easy to find in dishwashers.

However, Gunde-Cimerman stressed, that’s speculation. No one has yet proven a connection between dishwasher microbes and mycoses infections.

How do fungus and bacteria get into dishwashers? The “main entry point” for fungi is the tap water that supplies the appliance, Gunde-Cimerman said. But food, people and pets are other potential sources, she added.

As for the bacteria, the source isn’t clear, according to Gunde-Cimerman. “But we speculate that contaminated food is the main entry route,” she said.

It is possible for dishwasher microbes to break free from their home: They can get out via waste water, or through the hot air produced at the end of the dishwasher cycle, Gunde-Cimerman said.

So one way to keep the microbes contained is to avoid opening the dishwasher before it has cooled down, according to Gunde-Cimerman.

“Do not open the dishwasher when it is still hot and humid,” she said, “to prevent the release of aerosols in the kitchen.”

Wiping the rubber seal with a dry cloth at the end of a cycle can also limit microbe buildup, Gunde-Cimerman said.

Hartmann agreed that people who are concerned can wipe down the dishwasher seal.

But she also emphasized the positive aspects of the microbial communities living in all our homes: Scientists have made great discoveries by studying microorganisms.

Hartmann pointed to the example of a bacterial enzyme discovered in the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park. It was instrumental in developing a breakthrough technique called polymerase chain reaction, which is now used to study DNA in research and clinical labs everywhere.

“Your kitchen might not be Yellowstone,” Hartmann noted. But, she added, it may host some “pretty amazing” microbes.

So if you are ever presented with the opportunity to have researchers swab your kitchen, Hartmann said, consider it.

The study was published Jan. 12 in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.


Explore further:
Gut fungi could play a role in obesity epidemic

More information:
Nina Gunde-Cimerman, Ph.D. professor, microbiology and mycology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia; Erica Marie Hartmann, Ph.D., assistant professor, civil and environmental engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.; Jan. 12, 2018, Applied and Environmental Microbiology

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more on keeping bad bugs out of kitchens.

Journal reference:
Applied and Environmental Microbiology

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles