According to a new research, humans are surrounded by a “personal microbial cloud” comprising countless bacteria, yeast, cells, and cell parts.
These “clouds,” inundated by our unique microbes, may just be as unique as fingerprints, as you leave your own distinctive bacterial signature everywhere you go.
According to the research team based in the University of Oregon, “Humans emit upwards of 106 biological particles per hour, and have long been known to transmit pathogens to other individuals and to indoor surfaces.”
“We’re constantly emitting microbes around us. And this is coming from shedding of our skin, from exhaling, our hair, we’re just full of these guys.” Adam Altrichter, a microbial ecologist at the University of Oregon, told The Scientific American, “We’ve never been sterile organisms. We are definitely masses of microbes both in and on us.”
The study also found that every individual’s “personalized airborne signal can be statistically differentiated” from that of others. And this new knowledge may be applied to tracking disease, defining contagions, and/or even catching criminals who may not leave behind a fingerprint leave behind their microbes.
James Meadow, the paper’s lead author, an unappealing description of his research results. “As soon as there’s a person in the room, you start to find things like staphylococcus or streptococcus, things that we all have on us. In my office, when I walk across the room, I’m carrying behind me an invisible train of air. On a microscopic level, it might look something like an 18-wheeler going down a dusty road.”