Characterization of communal sink drain communities of a university campus

Withey, Zoe; Goodall, Tim; MacIntyre, Sheila; Gweon, Hyun S.. 2021 Characterization of communal sink drain communities of a university campus. Environmental DNA, 3 (5). 901-911.

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Microorganisms are widely distributed throughout the built environment and even those found in concealed environments such as sink P-traps can have an impact on our health. To date, most studies on sink bacterial communities focused on those present in hospitals with no to little information regarding sinks in residential or communal settings. Here, we conducted a characterization using 16S rRNA sequencing of the bacterial communities of communal restroom sinks located on a university campus to investigate the diversity, prevalence, and abundances of the bacteria that reside in this understudied environment. The study found that community composition and structure were highly variable across individual sinks, and there were marginal differences between buildings and the two different parts of sink examined. Proteobacteria were the most abundant phylum in the sink communities, and the families Burkholderiaceae, Moraxellaceae, and Sphingomonadaceae were found to be ubiquitous across all sinks. Notably, human skin was identified as a primary contributor to the below-strainer sink bacterial community. These data provide novel insight into the sink bacterial communities' constituents and serve as the foundation for subsequent studies that might explore community stability and resilience of in situ sinks.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
UKCEH Fellows
ISSN: 2637-4943
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: built environment, DNA barcoding, environmental microbiology, microbiome, sink
NORA Subject Terms: Health
Biology and Microbiology
Date made live: 02 Jun 2021 11:14 +0 (UTC)

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