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Disinfectant, soap or probiotic cleaning?
Author: CAF
Published: 09/02/2021

A study about disinfectant, soap and probiotic cleaning extended probiotic cleaning research to a built environment. Through an eight-month cleaning trial researchers compared the effect of three cleaning products (disinfectant, plain soap, and a probiotic cleaner) and tap water as the control, on the resident microbiome of three common hospital surfaces (linoleum, ceramic, and stainless steel).

Biofilm competition offered a fuller understanding than cell survival assessments and were used for comparing the competitive dynamics. The biofilms were visualised at the Fluorescence Microscopy facility of CAF. A test for culturable cell survival showed that both plain soap and probiotic cleaner regimes established a surface microbiome that outcompeted the two pathogens tested. On surfaces cleaned with disinfectant the pathogen (bacteria) outcompeted the microbiomes. On surfaces cleaned with plain soap, the resulting diverse microbiomes outcompeted the pathogen. However, on surfaces cleaned with monoculture probiotic cleaner, despite the exponentially higher surface microbial loads, the microbiome did not completely outcompete the pathogen.

Wendy Stone, one of the authors, said “I remember those moments behind the microscope, realising the data might be significant, with a huge smile."

The study showed that both plain soap and probiotic cleaner fostered competitive exclusion far more effectively than disinfectant. Probiotic cleaners with microbial diversity could be worth considering for hospital cleaning.

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