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Open AccessArticle

Influence of Sampling Site and other Environmental Factors on the Bacterial Community Composition of Domestic Washing Machines

1
Faculty of Medical and Life Sciences, Institute of Precision Medicine, Microbiology and Hygiene Group, Furtwangen University, 78054 Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany
2
International Research & Development—Laundry & Home Care, Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, 40191 Düsseldorf, Germany
3
Institute of Applied Microbiology, Research Centre for BioSystems, Land Use, and Nutrition (IFZ), Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, 35392 Giessen, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Microorganisms 2020, 8(1), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8010030
Received: 22 November 2019 / Revised: 16 December 2019 / Accepted: 20 December 2019 / Published: 22 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbes in the Built Environment)
Modern, mainly sustainability-driven trends, such as low-temperature washing or bleach-free liquid detergents, facilitate microbial survival of the laundry processes. Favourable growth conditions like humidity, warmth and sufficient nutrients also contribute to microbial colonization of washing machines. Such colonization might lead to negatively perceived staining, corrosion of washing machine parts and surfaces, as well as machine and laundry malodour. In this study, we characterized the bacterial community of 13 domestic washing machines at four different sampling sites (detergent drawer, door seal, sump and fibres collected from the washing solution) using 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing and statistically analysed associations with environmental and user-dependent factors. Across 50 investigated samples, the bacterial community turned out to be significantly site-dependent with the highest alpha diversity found inside the detergent drawer, followed by sump, textile fibres isolated from the washing solution, and door seal. Surprisingly, out of all other investigated factors only the monthly number of wash cycles at temperatures ≥ 60 °C showed a significant influence on the community structure. A higher number of hot wash cycles per month increased microbial diversity, especially inside the detergent drawer. Potential reasons and the hygienic relevance of this finding need to be assessed in future studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: washing machines; bacterial diversity; biofilms; amplicon sequencing; hygiene washing machines; bacterial diversity; biofilms; amplicon sequencing; hygiene
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MDPI and ACS Style

Jacksch, S.; Kaiser, D.; Weis, S.; Weide, M.; Ratering, S.; Schnell, S.; Egert, M. Influence of Sampling Site and other Environmental Factors on the Bacterial Community Composition of Domestic Washing Machines. Microorganisms 2020, 8, 30. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8010030

AMA Style

Jacksch S, Kaiser D, Weis S, Weide M, Ratering S, Schnell S, Egert M. Influence of Sampling Site and other Environmental Factors on the Bacterial Community Composition of Domestic Washing Machines. Microorganisms. 2020; 8(1):30. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8010030

Chicago/Turabian Style

Jacksch, Susanne; Kaiser, Dominik; Weis, Severin; Weide, Mirko; Ratering, Stefan; Schnell, Sylvia; Egert, Markus. 2020. "Influence of Sampling Site and other Environmental Factors on the Bacterial Community Composition of Domestic Washing Machines" Microorganisms 8, no. 1: 30. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8010030

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