Breaking News
October 16, 2018 - MDI Biological Laboratory receives $1.2 million SEPA grant to promote data literacy
October 16, 2018 - Vast majority of dementia cases may arise from spontaneous genetic errors
October 16, 2018 - New project aims to deliver fast, effective treatment for autoimmune rheumatic diseases
October 16, 2018 - Study identifies molecular switch that controls fate of milk-producing breast cells
October 16, 2018 - Research shows diet has little influence on precursor to gout
October 16, 2018 - “Without Dr. Shumway doing his miracle work, three generations would not be here”: A Stanford heart transplant patient’s story
October 16, 2018 - Researchers demonstrate integrated technique to control production of cell therapeutics
October 16, 2018 - Breast tomosynthesis detects 34% more tumors than traditional mammography
October 16, 2018 - Rhode Island Hospital, Brown receive $800,000 grant to keep up fight against opioid epidemic
October 16, 2018 - UVA partners with health systems in AVIA network’s Medicaid Transformation Project
October 16, 2018 - Trevena Announces Oliceridine FDA Advisory Committee Meeting Outcome
October 16, 2018 - Study reveals early warning signs of heart problems in patients with newly diagnosed lupus
October 16, 2018 - Connecting the dots of Alzheimer’s disease
October 16, 2018 - New publication offers evidence-based content for global breast imaging medical community
October 16, 2018 - ‘EinsteinVision’ that improves hand-eye coordination of surgeons introduced at Harefield Hospital
October 16, 2018 - WRAIR clinical study evaluates safety and immunogenicity of Marburg vaccine
October 16, 2018 - Ketamine can be considered as alternative to opioids for short-term pain control in ED
October 16, 2018 - Endurance exercise training beneficially alters gut microbiota composition
October 15, 2018 - FDA Approves Yutiq (fluocinolone acetonide intravitreal implant) for Chronic Non-Infectious Posterior Segment Uveitis
October 15, 2018 - Birthing Options for Full-Term Pregnancy
October 15, 2018 - Stressed, toxic, zombie cells seen for first time in Alzheimer’s
October 15, 2018 - Concussion researchers study head motion in high school football hits | News Center
October 15, 2018 - Neuropsychiatric symptoms related to earliest stages of Alzheimer’s brain pathology
October 15, 2018 - Neck collar device may help protect the brain of female high school soccer players
October 15, 2018 - Research reveals how the inner ear processes speech
October 15, 2018 - Many parents still skeptical about safety and effectiveness of flu shot, survey finds
October 15, 2018 - Payer Policies May Discourage Non-Pharma Tx for Low Back Pain
October 15, 2018 - Exercise may delay cognitive decline in people with rare Alzheimer’s disease
October 15, 2018 - Researchers modify CRISPR to reorganize genome | News Center
October 15, 2018 - Innovative brain tumor operation set to tailor to patients’ needs
October 15, 2018 - Findings offer new insight into early changes that occur during AD pathology
October 15, 2018 - Neurons regulating reproductive hormone release have different activity in epileptic mice
October 15, 2018 - More parents are concerned about taking babies swimming in public pools
October 15, 2018 - Health Tip: Know the Risk Factors for Lower Back Pain
October 15, 2018 - Study shows cigarillo flavors enhanced by high-intensity sweeteners
October 15, 2018 - Study traces hospital-acquired bloodstream infections to patients’ own bodies | News Center
October 15, 2018 - Abnormal vision in childhood can affect development of brain areas responsible for attention
October 15, 2018 - Study highlights need for increased support for alcohol-related liver disease patients
October 15, 2018 - Color-changing contact lens could help doctors to monitor eye disease medications
October 15, 2018 - Tobacco heating products cause less staining to teeth than conventional cigarettes
October 15, 2018 - Young adults who are obese can expect to lose up to 10 years in life expectancy
October 15, 2018 - Scientists uncover how proteins meet on the cell membrane
October 15, 2018 - Affordable housing with supportive social services for senior citizens can reduce hospital use
October 15, 2018 - Schiller Easy Pulse Saves Lives
October 15, 2018 - The latest ECG device from Schiller
October 15, 2018 - Following a Tissue Sample
October 15, 2018 - Prisoners need drug and alcohol treatments but AA programs aren’t the answer
October 15, 2018 - Andrea Califano and Jordan Orange Elected to National Academy of Medicine
October 15, 2018 - The impending risk of African Swine Fever Virus
October 15, 2018 - Breastfeeding reduces the number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in infant gut
October 15, 2018 - Researchers develop comprehensive molecular atlas of postnatal mouse heart development
October 15, 2018 - ObsEva SA Presents Clinical Data from Phase III IMPLANT 2 Trial of Nolasiban in IVF at the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Annual Meeting
October 15, 2018 - Engineering teratoma-derived fibroblasts to enhance osteogenesis
October 15, 2018 - Lab study shows effectiveness of potential therapy for treatment-resistant hypothyroidism
October 15, 2018 - JCU study firms up association between diet and depression
October 15, 2018 - Researchers to study the use of CRISPR on human liver on-a-chip platform
October 15, 2018 - Sub-concussive impacts not associated with decline in neurocognitive function
October 15, 2018 - Researchers find potential treatment to halt premature labor and birth
October 15, 2018 - As U.S. suicides rates rise, Hispanics show relative immunity
October 15, 2018 - FDA Issues a Complete Response Letter to Acacia Pharma for Barhemsys
October 15, 2018 - Photoactive bacteria bait may help in fight against MRSA infections
October 15, 2018 - Increasing vigorous exercise reduces risk factors of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease in children
October 15, 2018 - First-of-its-kind study to test a personalized vaccine in cancer patient
October 15, 2018 - Extension trial assesses benefit of switching from flash monitoring to RT-CGM for hypoglycemia
October 15, 2018 - Half of parents say young children are afraid of doctor’s visits
October 15, 2018 - Study shows how fingerprint-based drug screening works on the living and deceased
October 15, 2018 - Study reveals potential to monitor progression of Alzheimer’s disease by measuring brain antioxidant levels
October 15, 2018 - FDA Approves Xarelto to Reduce the Risk of Major Cardiovascular Events in Patients with Chronic Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) or Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
October 15, 2018 - Promising new therapeutic approach against Ebola virus identified
October 15, 2018 - Study unravels how cancer stem cells use normal genes in abnormal ways
October 15, 2018 - Healthcare systems fail to deliver at affordable prices finds report
October 15, 2018 - Intensive BP Therapy in Diabetes May Lower Risk for CV Events
October 15, 2018 - Muscle relaxants increase risk of respiratory complications
October 15, 2018 - Female birds become more promiscuous after hatchings fail in the first breeding attempt
October 15, 2018 - Humans occupied Madagascar thousands of years later than previously thought
October 15, 2018 - Is Kidney Dialysis Always Needed When Septic Shock Strikes?
October 15, 2018 - Study shows invasive lung cancer surgery can lead to long-term opioid use
October 15, 2018 - Sugar, a “sweet” tool to understand brain injuries
October 14, 2018 - King’s commemorates activities and research on World Arthritis Day
October 14, 2018 - Humana and VFW NY team up on Stop 22 initiative to increase awareness of veterans committing suicide
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