Home LanguageEnglish Kitchen Sponges Are Better For Bacterial Communities Than Lab Petri Dishes

Kitchen Sponges Are Better For Bacterial Communities Than Lab Petri Dishes

by Ernest Harry
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According to a study by Duke University, dishwashing sponges contain a lot of bacteria, and kitchen sponges are more conducive to a variety of bacterial communities and reproduction than laboratory Petri dishes.


Scientists find kitchen sponges better for microbial growth than lab Petri dishes. (Photo via xframe.io)

Washington, DC (Merxwire) – Many people think that the sponge’s bacteria come from trapped leftovers, so they work hard to remove food scraps. However, a study by Duke University in the United States shows that, aside from food scraps, the structure of the sponge itself is very suitable for microbial growth. The research was published in the scientific journal Nature Chemical Biology on February 10.

To understand the structural environment preferred by various microbes, the research team conducted studies on different structural space divisions to find out how factors such as the complexity and size of the structures affect the dynamics of microbes. The researchers used gene editing to transform 80 strains of Escherichia coli, allowing the bacteria to emit different colors of light, making it easier to cultivate and observe them in different structural spaces.

In the study, some structures contained 6 holes, and some contained 1500 holes, and these holes, whether too thin or too thick, would affect the growth of bacteria, resulting in poor reproduction. The researchers found that some bacteria prefer to grow in communities, while others prefer to be alone. Then, if there is a structured environment with both community and independent houses, there will be more bacteria living in it.

Where can one find this kind of environment suitable for mixing different bacteria? Soil provides this optimal mixed housing environment, and so does the sponge in the kitchen! The researchers then tried a structure similar to a dishwashing sponge and found that the bacteria thrived best in this structure.

Kitchen sponges structured to suit bacterial communities. (Photo via unsplash.com)

“The small portioning really hurt the species that depend on interactions with other species to survive, while the large portioning eliminated the members that suffer from these interactions (the loners),” Lingchong You, one of the study’s authors, said in a ScienceDaily report. “But the intermediate portioning allowed a maximum diversity of survivors in the microbial community.”

Lingchong You pointed out that sponges are a very simple method of bacterial culture that can implement multilevel portioning to enhance the overall microbial community. The structure of sponges provides a perfect home for microbes, and maybe that’s why sponges are so dirty.

How often do you change your kitchen sponge? When your sponge has turned into a bacterial community, perhaps frequent sponge replacement is a good way to drive away from the microbes. On the other hand, keeping sponges as dry and clean as possible when you’re not using them is also one of the ways to inhibit bacterial growth.

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