Significant changes in the skin microbiome mediated by the sport of roller derby.

By Seriously Science | June 24, 2013 12:00 pm

Photo: flickr/4nitsirk

As you might already know, your skin is covered with bacteria, even if you shower every day. But where do these bacteria come from? Does the composition of this bacterial “community” stay constant, or do the specific species change depending on our activities? In this study, the authors investigated the bacterial communities on the skin of roller derby participants (in Oregon, of course) before and after a tournament. They found that the bacterial communities are not static–in fact, they actually tended to converge between opposing teams during the game. This suggests that any activity involving “human to human contact” would be subject to the same phenomenon. Something to think about before that next one-night stand…

Significant changes in the skin microbiome mediated by the sport of roller derby.

“Diverse bacterial communities live on and in human skin. These complex communities vary by skin location on the body, over time, between individuals, and between geographic regions. Culture-based studies have shown that human to human and human to surface contact mediates the dispersal of pathogens, yet little is currently known about the drivers of bacterial community assembly patterns on human skin. We hypothesized that participation in a sport involving skin to skin contact would result in detectable shifts in skin bacterial community composition. We conducted a study during a flat track roller derby tournament, and found that teammates shared distinct skin microbial communities before and after playing against another team, but that opposing teams’ bacterial communities converged during the course of a roller derby bout. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the human skin microbiome shifts in composition during activities involving human to human contact, and that contact sports provide an ideal setting in which to evaluate dispersal of microorganisms between people.”

Related content:
NCBI ROFL: Why you should choose a clean-shaven surgeon.
NCBI ROFL: A Jungle in There: Bacteria in Belly Buttons are Highly Diverse, but Predictable.
NCBI ROFL: Did you hear about the penis microbiome? It’s got lots of cocci.


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