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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(12), 12544-12561; doi:10.3390/ijerph111212544

Diversity of Bacterial Communities of Fitness Center Surfaces in a U.S. Metropolitan Area

1
Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Environmental Health, School of Public Health, The University of Memphis, 338 Robison Hall, 3825 Desoto Avenue, Memphis, TN 38152, USA
2
Molecular Research LP (MR DNA), 503 Clovis Road, Shallowater, TX 79363, USA
3
WMC TV Action News 5, NBC Memphis, 1960 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38104, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 October 2014 / Revised: 26 November 2014 / Accepted: 26 November 2014 / Published: 3 December 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Determinants of Infectious Disease Transmission)
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Abstract

Public fitness centers and exercise facilities have been implicated as possible sources for transmitting community-acquired bacterial infections. However, the overall diversity of the bacterial community residing on the surfaces in these indoor environments is still unknown. In this study, we investigated the overall bacterial ecology of selected fitness centers in a metropolitan area (Memphis, TN, USA) utilizing culture-independent pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA genes. Samples were collected from the skin-contact surfaces (e.g., exercise instruments, floor mats, handrails, etc.) within fitness centers. Taxonomical composition revealed the abundance of Firmicutes phyla, followed by Proteobacter and Actinobacteria, with a total of 17 bacterial families and 25 bacterial genera. Most of these bacterial genera are of human and environmental origin (including, air, dust, soil, and water). Additionally, we found the presence of some pathogenic or potential pathogenic bacterial genera including Salmonella, Staphylococcus, Klebsiella, and Micrococcus. Staphylococcus was found to be the most prevalent genus. Presence of viable forms of these pathogens elevates risk of exposure of any susceptible individuals. Several factors (including personal hygiene, surface cleaning and disinfection schedules of the facilities) may be the reasons for the rich bacterial diversity found in this study. The current finding underscores the need to increase public awareness on the importance of personal hygiene and sanitation for public gym users. View Full-Text
Keywords: bacteria; microbiome; metagenomics; Staphylococcus; indoor environment; fitness center; gymnasium; hygiene; disinfection bacteria; microbiome; metagenomics; Staphylococcus; indoor environment; fitness center; gymnasium; hygiene; disinfection
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Mukherjee, N.; Dowd, S.E.; Wise, A.; Kedia, S.; Vohra, V.; Banerjee, P. Diversity of Bacterial Communities of Fitness Center Surfaces in a U.S. Metropolitan Area. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 12544-12561.

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