Journal Articles

Publication Date



Frontiers in Microbiology


Bacterial pathogens in the domestic environment present a risk to residents, particularly among susceptible populations. However, the impact of consumer demographic characteristics and food handling methods on kitchen microbiomes is not fully understood. The domestic kitchen bacterial communities of ten predominantly low-income families in Houston, TX, were assessed in conjunction with a cross-sectional food safety survey to evaluate differences in household and surface-specific microbiomes and bacterial foodborne pathogen presence. Three kitchen surfaces within each household, including the sink drain, the refrigerator handle, and the counter, were environmentally sampled and metataxonomically evaluated via targeted 16S rRNA sequencing. Disposable dish sponges were also acquired and examined. Results indicated that alpha diversity did not vary by the households, sampling locations, or demographic characteristics evaluated. Significant differences in beta diversity were observed among the bacterial communities of five pairs of households and between refrigerator handle and disposable dish sponge microbiomes. A total of 89 unique bacterial foodborne pathogens were identified across surface types. Each household contained at least one contaminated surface, and the most common bacterial foodborne pathogens identified were


metataxonomics, indoor built environment, food safety, sanitation, consumer behavior, foodborne illness, diarrheal disease, demographic disparities



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