Somebody sneezes on the bus without covering their mouths and all of a sudden we all look at each other. In this world of air-conditioned and crazy temperatures, colds spread very easily. So the tension grows in the environment. But it passes quickly because, overall, how long can those bacteria last away from their natural habitat?

For 45 minutes. Three quarters of an hour. Or just discovered a group of researchers from the Queensland University of Technology using a new method to study it.

Bacteria are single-celled organisms. Their life time varies by type. Some types of bacteria, such as streptococci, can live on any inanimate surface for hours or even weeks. Others have a very short lifetime; The shortest is about 20 minutes.
Bacteria represent the oldest and most numerous life forms of all and can be found anywhere on Earth. They are living cells and are even present in the air you breathe. Bacteria are vital to our ecosystem and 99 percent of all bacteria are useful. One percent that is not useful causes some diseases, but these are treatable with antibiotics.

Bacteria, bacteria everywhere

Lidia Morawska, co-director of the project, explained that pathogens not only remain viable for 45 minutes, but could travel up to four meters. Fortunately, the type of bacteria they studied (P. aeruginosa) only causes disease if there are preexisting diseases or vulnerabilities.

In addition, they found that most bacteria decay rapidly within ten minutes. However, there are concrete groups that survive much better. It is not clear why this happens, nor why there are some bacteria that survive better. It may be due to the composition of the drops or the concentration of bacteria.

Beyond the matter in question, this study is very interesting because it will allow us to better understand the air-bacterial dynamics and, above all, will allow us to better control infections in public transport, schools, health centers and hospitals.

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