Breaking News
January 16, 2019 - GoFundMe CEO: ‘Gigantic Gaps’ In Health System Showing Up In Crowdfunding
January 16, 2019 - Induced neuronal cells derived from fibroblasts are similar to neurons in the brain
January 16, 2019 - New study finds link between childhood abuse and suicide in later life
January 16, 2019 - Lifestyle and health factors that are good for the heart can also prevent diabetes
January 16, 2019 - Scientists take another step in understanding bacteria that cause Salmonella epidemic
January 16, 2019 - Look to Your Aunts, Uncles and Parents for Clues to Your Longevity
January 16, 2019 - Study finds ADHD drugs are unlikely to cause cardiac damage in children who take them
January 16, 2019 - Call The Midwife! (If The Doctor Doesn’t Object)
January 16, 2019 - Changes in hippocampal structural connectivity differentiate responders of electroconvulsive therapy
January 16, 2019 - Study sheds light on the deadly venom of Mojave rattlesnakes
January 16, 2019 - University of Nebraska to develop new drugs that prevent and counteract effects of radiation exposure
January 16, 2019 - Sugar-based stent makes precarious sewing process easier
January 16, 2019 - FDA-approved drug hampers cancer metastasis in animal model, shows study
January 16, 2019 - Childhood body composition may play a role in future respiratory health
January 16, 2019 - Outdated commissioning methods are failing mental health services in the UK, reveals report
January 16, 2019 - Unconventional immune cells trigger disturbed cytokine production in human spondyloarthritis
January 16, 2019 - Patients Turn To GoFundMe When Money And Hope Run Out
January 16, 2019 - Researchers develop novel viral identification method
January 16, 2019 - Study proposes improvements in pharmacological study of cognitive function enhancers in schizophrenia
January 16, 2019 - Study points to potential new biomarker and drug target for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
January 16, 2019 - Differences in geographic origin of genes may affect mitochondrial function
January 16, 2019 - Study analyzes vaccine-preventable infections in children who receive solid organ transplants
January 16, 2019 - MiRagen Announces New Clinical Data in Patients With Three Different Types of Blood Cancers Treated With Cobomarsen
January 16, 2019 - Scientists uncover why knee joint injury leads to osteoarthritis
January 16, 2019 - Salk team uses new model to study health effects of AMP-activated protein kinase
January 16, 2019 - Research reveals novel approach to suppressing chemotherapy-induced tumor growth
January 16, 2019 - Researchers reveal how fasting leads to better overall health
January 16, 2019 - Deprivation and neglect in early childhood have impact on cognitive functioning in adolescence, shows study
January 16, 2019 - Training Students to use Imaging Techniques: NMR and EPR
January 16, 2019 - Nerve transfer surgery restores arm movement in children with acute flaccid myelitis
January 16, 2019 - Exelixis Announces U.S. FDA Approval of Cabometyx (cabozantinib) Tablets for Previously Treated Hepatocellular Carcinoma
January 16, 2019 - DNA vaccine reduces both toxic proteins linked to Alzheimer’s
January 16, 2019 - Even in the U.S., poor women often can't afford tampons, pads
January 16, 2019 - One time use of Marijuana could affect teen brains finds study
January 16, 2019 - Persistent Opioid Use High in Head, Neck Cancer Patients
January 16, 2019 - Questions to ask your doctor about post pregnancy care: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
January 16, 2019 - Neurons with good housekeeping are protected from Alzheimer’s
January 16, 2019 - Is mindfulness worthy of all the hype?
January 16, 2019 - Physical Activity, Any Type or Amount, Cuts Health Risk from Sitting
January 16, 2019 - New understanding in the evolution of human feet
January 15, 2019 - AHA: New Cholesterol Guidelines Put Ethnicity in the Spotlight
January 15, 2019 - Different brain areas linked to smoking and drinking
January 15, 2019 - Henry Marsh shares insights into neurosurgery and more at Dean’s Lecture Series
January 15, 2019 - Want to Live Longer? For Just 30 Minutes a Day, Do Anything Else But Sit
January 15, 2019 - The Current issue of “The view from here” is concerned with Targets
January 15, 2019 - Plain packaging sparked tobacco price rises, new study finds
January 15, 2019 - Sedentary lifestyles can be unhealthy, physical activity can lower risk
January 15, 2019 - Gut microbiome may help prevent development of cow’s milk allergy
January 15, 2019 - Lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals more likely to suffer severe substance use disorders
January 15, 2019 - New England Journal of Medicine Publishes Positive Results of the Pivotal Trial of Cablivi (caplacizumab) for Rare Blood Clotting Disorder
January 15, 2019 - Levels of inflammatory marker (CRP) linked to housing type and tenure
January 15, 2019 - Three gifts I’m glad I gave myself in 2018
January 15, 2019 - Columbia’s Pediatrics Department Names New Vice Chairs, Expands Leadership
January 15, 2019 - US FDA Accepts Regulatory Submissions for Review of Tafamidis to Treat Transthyretin Amyloid Cardiomyopathy
January 15, 2019 - Staying fit can cut your risk of heart attack by half
January 15, 2019 - Vitamin D supplements are of no gain to those over 70, study shows
January 15, 2019 - Scientists create comprehensive new method to predict breast cancer risk
January 15, 2019 - Research shows connection between social media use and impaired risky decision-making
January 15, 2019 - FDA Approves Expanded Use of Adacel (Tdap) Vaccine for Repeat Vaccination
January 15, 2019 - Treating spinal pain with replacement discs made of ‘engineered living tissue’ moves closer to reality
January 15, 2019 - Providers Walk ‘Fine Line’ Between Informing And Scaring Immigrant Patients
January 15, 2019 - Outcomes Poorer for Medicaid Beneficiaries With STEMI
January 15, 2019 - Decorative Products on Foods Can Be Unsafe
January 15, 2019 - A dream of sustainable surgery in Uganda
January 15, 2019 - Study shows how herpes viruses and tumors have learned to manipulate the same ancient RNA
January 15, 2019 - Common Heart, Diabetes Meds May Help Ease Mental Illness
January 15, 2019 - Stress and trauma in earliest years linked to reduced hippocampal volume in adolescence
January 15, 2019 - Scientists identify endogenous activator of sigma-1 receptors in human cells
January 15, 2019 - MAR treatments unlikely to be cause of premature or low birth weight babies
January 15, 2019 - Parental CPTSD increases transmission of trauma to offspring of Tutsi genocide survivors
January 15, 2019 - High-fat diets shown to increase blood pressure
January 15, 2019 - New institute for food safety to be established in Netherlands
January 15, 2019 - Keele University researchers receive £2.4 million grant to help reduce overprescribing of opioids
January 15, 2019 - Synthetic compound reverses mutant p53 aggregate accumulation, study shows
January 15, 2019 - First elder care robot tested in a WSU smart home apartment
January 15, 2019 - Oxford researchers explore relationship between technology use and adolescent mental health
January 15, 2019 - From microbiome research to healthier and sustainable foods
January 15, 2019 - How coaching moms and dads improves infants’ language skills
January 15, 2019 - Precision health approach tapped to identify causes of poverty
January 14, 2019 - DNA origami can accurately measure how antibodies interact with several antigens
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