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12 Pages Essays / Projects Year Uploaded: 2022

Banknotes are exchanged on a daily basis, hence serving as reservoirs for transmitting pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria. However, there are minimal studies of the microbial composition for polymer banknotes. This study investigates the microbial profile of polymer banknotes from a swab sample of an Australian $20 note to determine potential pathogens that spread through the exchange of cash. To achieve this, a subculture was identified by culture-dependent methods. Biochemical characterisation and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry analysis characterised the culture as Staphylococcus epidermidis whilst Sanger Sequencing of the 16s rRNA subunit matched the isolate to Staphylococcus haemolyticus. Unlike the microbiome of paper currency, Corynebacterium and Micrococcus were found present in the polymer banknote microbiota. This was collected through community analysis of the 16s rRNA sequence which obtained quantitative abundance of the microbiome. A total of 10836 bacterial species were identified, with Staphylococcus constituting for 45% of the sample. Therefore, it is notable that commensal pathogens dominate the microbiome of the sample. Although these species harbour on the human flora of individuals, they can be detrimental to immunocompromised individuals. However, more sampling of polymer banknotes from different locations and testing the survivability of different microorganisms on polymer, is required to generate a reliable microbiota profile.

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