Microbial Communities: Microorganisms in Kitchen Sponges

Microorganisms in Kitchen Sponges: Technical Summary                                               In this study conducted by ErdoÄŸrul and Erbilir they examined the presence of various microorganisms in sponges, and whether or not dishwashing detergent had an effect on eliminating the growth of organisms. They found that daily application of detergent had no effect on yeast, molds, pseudomonads, or  E. coli, but it did decrease the presence of Salmonella spp. in sponges used in a “normal’ household. They also artificially contaminated 10 sponges with  E. coli  and  S. typhimurium  and kept them in a laboratory setting. Here they found that dishwashing detergent was effective in reducing the number of both  E. coli  and  S. typhimurium  microorganisms in the sponge. The study concluded that the presence of food residue on kitchen sponges greatly reduced the effectiveness of the dishwashing detergent on preventing microbial growth. They emphasized that sponges and dishcloths should be rinsed and dried after use in order to not facilitate bacterial growth.

Microorganisms in Kitchen Sponges: Non-Technical Summary                                   Have you ever wondered what microbes live in your kitchen sponge, and if detergent actually affects these microbes at all? Well, a research team from Turkey did a study looking at how dishwashing detergent actually can kill the bacteria that live in kitchen sponges. They discovered that by applying soap to the sponge two times a day only some Salmonella spp. bacteria were killed, but the detergent had no effect on most of the yeasts, molds, and bacteria like E. Coli. They also added bacteria to some sponges that were stored in the laboratory, and here they found that the dishwashing detergent actually killed most of the bacteria. As we know most strains of E. coli are harmless, but some might cause sickness when it comes to Salmonella spp. most strains are pathogenic, but will just cause symptoms like diarrhea, fever, etc. or you might not get any symptoms at all.  Therefore, they concluded that the food that gets stuck on the sponge when it is used in the kitchen actually helps the bacteria grow, so they recommended that all sponges and dishcloths should be rinsed and dried after they have been used in order to make it harder for the bacteria to survive.

Literature Cited                                                                                                                 Erdogrul, Ö., & Erbilir, F. (2000). Microorganisms in Kitchen Sponges. Internet Journal of Food Safety, 6(Erdogrul, Ö., Erbilir, F. (2000). Microorganisms in Kitchen Sponges. Internet Journal of Food Safety, 6, 17—22.), 17—22.                                                               Link: https://www.internetjfs.org/articles/ijfsv6-4.pdf


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