Your A.T.M. Is Covered in Microbes, but Mostly Harmless

“Your A.T.M. Is Covered in Microbes, but Mostly Harmless”

This article talks about how A.T.M.’s show all kinds of different microbes from all over NYC. For this article they swabbed 66 keypads from all around the city, similar to what we have done for our culture experiments. Their results showed the machine had microbes that are ¬†often found on human skin. Small traces of food were also found and also a mold that is found in spoiled baked goods. This study is a small part of an attempt to study the microbiome of NYC.

The article seemed to be reputable and fairly straight forward. They were just reporting the results they had received from the swabs. They possibly didn’t report all of the microbes they found to try and not scare anyone. I’m the the A.T.M.’s were also covered in diseases, but none of that was mentioned. It would be interesting to see the complete study and the other areas they decide to test to try and complete the NYC microbiome.

Do you think we’d have a pretty similar result of microbes on an ATM in Fairbanks? Why or why not?


2 Comments for “Your A.T.M. Is Covered in Microbes, but Mostly Harmless”



Interesting. I hear about the NYC microbiome project from time to time. I should probably go check out how much progress has been made….

I’m willing to bet that S. epidermidis was a major member of the community found.

Other suspects include: E. coli, S. aureus, P. acnes, S. pyogenes, and S. mitis.



This was a rather interesting article. With the constant flood of traffic from tourists and the overall population of that city, I am not surprised about the high levels of microbial diversity on ATMs in NYC. That would be really interesting to see if diseases were found on these surfaces throughout the city. I could see why they would potentially leave out this sort of information in this article to not scare the residents and future tourists. In regards, to your final question, I do feel that the microbial diversity would be relatively different due to overall variation in climate between Fairbanks and NYC. Depending on the time of year the swab is performed, more psychrophiles would potentially be found on ATMs in Fairbanks compared to NYC.