Posted by: stiltsville | June 30, 2011

Extremophiles in your home

Ya gotta love scientists… they come up with the best questions. For example: “what if we went to 101 cities on 6 continents and took samples from the seals on the door of the dishwashers?” Well, what they found is disturbing:

62% of dishwashers had fungus growing on the seal. More than half of those had the “black yeast” Exophiala dermatitidis and E. phaeomuriformis… Think about the temperature and chemicals these things are exposed to. And they survive.

Exophiala dermatitidis is rarely isolated from nature, but is frequently encountered as an agent of human disease, both in compromised and healthy people. It is also known to be involved in pulmonary colonization of patients with cystic fibrosis, and also occasionally causes fatal infections in healthy humans. 

The discovery of this widespread presence of extremophilic fungi in some of our common household appliances suggests that these organisms have embarked on an extraordinary evolutionary process that could pose a significant risk to human health in the future. Now go bleach your seals.

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