$1 bills house 3,000 types of bacteria, according to new study

By Amanda Stewart,

New York University’s Dirty Money Project analyzed DNA on U.S. $1 bills and found 3,000 types of bacteria. This study has not yet been published.

According to ABC News, the study was part of a project that was aimed at identifying bacteria and health trends in New York.

Jane Carlton, a director at NYU, said, "It was quite amazing to us. We actually found that microbes grow on money."

According to The Wall Street Journal, Carlton and her colleagues took a look at 80 $1 bills in order to identify life forms on the money via DNA.

There were 1.2 billion DNA segments found on the money, only half of which were human. The study also found Staph, E. Coli and the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers. Some bills had bacteria of antibiotic resistant genes, like MRSA.

The researchers also found that the time of year that the money is being passed around could also play a role in the spread of illness, like pneumonia (which is found on bills mostly in the winter).

Nonetheless, the NYU biologists said that there is no reason to overreact. “Microbes are so important, are very ubiquitous and they surround us all the time,” Carlton said. “We did find certain microbes that we might be a little concerned about, but that doesn’t mean that people should be unduly concerned.”

More durable plastic polymer bills being used in some countries, including Canada, were found to contain less bacteria. Though scientists found that some bacteria that grows on the plastic bills live longer.



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