From: Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News
Published March 30, 2012 08:34 AM

One Person Adds 37 Million Bacteria to a Room

Just one person in a room adds 37 million bacteria to the air every hour, according to a study published in the journal Indoor Air.

Most of the bacteria are stirred up from the floor, where they were left behind by the room's prior occupants.


"We live in this microbial soup, and a big ingredient is our own microorganisms," Jordan Peccia, associate professor of environmental engineering at Yale and the principal investigator of the study, said in a press release.

"Mostly people are re-suspending what's been deposited before. The floor dust turns out to be the major source of the bacteria that we breathe."

Not long ago research revealed what lives in your belly button, so the overall amount of bacteria is astounding.

This latest study is the first to quantify how much a lone human presence affects the level of indoor biological aerosols (microorganisms).

Peccia and his team measured and analyzed biological particles in a single, ground floor university classroom over a period of eight days: four days when the room was periodically occupied, and four days when the room was continuously vacant. At all times the windows and doors were kept closed.

The HVAC system was operated at normal levels. Researchers sorted the particles by size.

The scientists found that "human occupancy was associated with substantially increased airborne concentrations" of bacteria and fungi of various sizes. Occupancy resulted in especially large spikes for larger-sized fungal particles and medium-sized bacterial particles.

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Bacteria image via Shutterstock

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