Your faeces, my furry friend, are blowin’ into my face

GO FOR a bracing winter stroll in a major US city and you will be inhaling more than vehicle fumes. A new study has demonstrated for the first time that during winter most of the airborne bacteria in three large Midwestern cities come from dog faeces.

Noah Fierer at the University of Colorado, Boulder, found the high proportions of airborne dog faecal bacteria after analysing samples of winter air from Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago. His team checked the DNA in their samples against reference banks which "barcode" organisms according to their genes.

They discovered that most of the bacteria they found came from dog faeces by checking the bacterial profiles against reference samples of bugs typically present in soils, leaves and faeces from humans, cows and dogs.

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