New Research Identifies Over 3,000 Types of Bacteria on Banknotes
With money exchanging hands everyday across the world, it’s unsurprising that these banknotes can harbor thousands of types of bacteria, with some far more harmful than others. New research by New York University has identified 3,000 types of bacteria on one dollar bills. These new studies highlighted a large amount of bacteria that is closely linked to antibiotic-resistant infections, food poisoning, skin infections, pneumonia, gastric ulcers, and diphtheria. Perhaps the most surprising substance found on these banknotes was unexpected DNA, including that of a white rhino, horse, and dog.
This study found that some of the bacteria analysed from the notes were some of the deadliest bacteria that are responsible for antibiotic-resistance. These resistant strains of bacteria were shown to actually grow on the money analysed in the study. A different 2010 study made a clear link between the number of microbes present on banknotes and the material the note was made from. This study analysed the bacteria found on banknotes and found that polymer-based banknotes – which have recently been introduced to the UK – have a significantly lower number of bacteria compared to other cotton-based banknotes.
Dr Simon Park, a leading lecturer at the University of Surrey details how keeping banknotes in warm and moist pockets offers the ideal conditions for bacteria to grow and survive. A UK study found that the superbug bacteria MRSA was found on certain ten pound notes. Around 20% of people have this bacteria living in their nostrils, which means that they had been touching their nose before handling banknotes.