The last few weeks have been a busy time here at the Good Germs Bad Germs project.
First, the metagenomic sequencing data we have been waiting for has finally arrived from the laboratory. The data relates to our participants' first "kitchen safari", in which they sampled five common areas: sinks, worktops, chopping boards, cupboard handles, and the kitchen floor. Each household also chose one further location to sample, which ranged from fridge shelves to their pets' water bowls. Rich is currently analysing the data using the power of cloud computing, to try and make sense of all the DNA fragments that have been identified - so we should be getting the bacterial diversity results within the next few days.
Second, our households' next experiment is well underway. This time, our participants have chosen to explore the micro-ecological effects of different cleaning products on their kitchen surfaces. The group has tested the effects of anti-bacterial cleaners, eco-detergents, standard washing-up liquids, vinegar, bleach, warm water, and even 'pro-biotic' cleaners (that 'seed' surfaces with 'good' bacteria in order to make them inhospitable to 'bad' ones). All the pre-sequencing steps have now been completed, and these samples are in line for the sequencing machine - watch this space!
And finally, we have also been hosting a camera crew who are making a short film about the project. Thanks again to everyone who made time for the camera people, especially those who hosted us in their homes.