Current Microbiology

, Volume 69, Issue 5, pp 681–689 | Cite as

Microbial Sequencing Analyses Suggest the Presence of a Fecal Veneer on Indoor Climbing Wall Holds

  • S. L. Bräuer
  • D. Vuono
  • M. J. Carmichael
  • C. Pepe-Ranney
  • A. Strom
  • E. Rabinowitz
  • D. H. Buckley
  • S. H. Zinder
Article

Abstract

Artificial climbing walls represent a unique indoor environment in which humans interact closely with a variety of surface types. Climbing wall holds may mediate transmission of organisms between individuals, and yet there are no studies that identify microorganisms present on these surfaces. In the current study, the microorganisms found on climbing wall holds were characterized by analysis of amplified SSU rRNA gene sequences. In contrast to many other studies of built environments, the majority of microorganisms on holds were most closely related to microbes annotated as being recovered from environmental sources, such as soil, with human skin also representing an important source. Regional patterns were evident as rRNA gene sequences from the marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus were abundant in gyms found within 16 km of the ocean. Enterobacteriaceae were present on 100 % of holds surveyed, and the members detected are commonly associated with fecal matter.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. L. Bräuer
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. Vuono
    • 2
    • 3
  • M. J. Carmichael
    • 1
    • 7
  • C. Pepe-Ranney
    • 2
    • 4
  • A. Strom
    • 1
  • E. Rabinowitz
    • 5
  • D. H. Buckley
    • 2
    • 4
  • S. H. Zinder
    • 2
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of BiologyAppalachian State UniversityBooneUSA
  2. 2.Microbial Diversity Summer CourseMarine Biological LaboratoryWoods HoleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringColorado School of MinesGoldenUSA
  4. 4.Department of Crop and Soil ScienceCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  5. 5.Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise ScienceAppalachian State UniversityBooneUSA
  6. 6.Department of MicrobiologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  7. 7.Department of BiologyWake Forest UniversityWinston-SalemUSA

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