Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 03-21-2012, 04:25 AM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: CentralArkansas
Posts: 22,811
Do Germs travel on can or bottle surfaces?

I'm hoping some of our science dopers can give me the straight dope.

Lets say I'm outside working barehanded in the flower bed. That rich moist soil covers my hands and gets under my fingernails. My neighborhood cat spent the winter enriching the soil for me.

My wife brings me a frosty cold root beer, opens it, and hands it too me. I carefully grasp it by the bottom 2 inches of the can. Take a couple swigs and set it down. I continue working in the flowerbed for 15 mins and take another swig. A hour later I finish off my root beer. Each time I handled the can it was from the bottom edge.

Can the germs/bacteria travel several inches up the can and into the area where my mouth touches?

If I took scrapings from under my fingernails and grew a culture in the lab. Would I get similar results from the mouthpiece of the can?

How fast can germs move on a surface like a soda can or bottle?

Last edited by aceplace57; 03-21-2012 at 04:30 AM.
#2
Old 03-21-2012, 04:47 AM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: CentralArkansas
Posts: 22,811
I forgot to mention, I'm using the term germs for Bacteria, Viruses, Fungi, and Protozoa.

Last edited by aceplace57; 03-21-2012 at 04:47 AM.
#3
Old 03-21-2012, 04:53 AM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 1,673
Unlikely. It is possible that bacteria could travel down to your mouth in a trickle of condensation as you tipped the can back to drink. But the bacteria won't propagate across the surface of the can without a medium (moisture, soil) to feed them.

However what is far more likely is you will breathe bacteria in as you work. Legionnaires Disease is commonly caught from moist mixes of gardening mulch.
#4
Old 03-21-2012, 04:53 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 56,973
Depends what they are. Some micro-organisms are motile, some only move by growing, and others leave themselves at the mercy of time and chance.

If the outside of the vessel is dry, then there's very little chance of anything microscopic and harmful travelling up the outside.

If it's covered with a film of condensation, there's a nonzero chance that something mobile and nasty could get up there, but the low temperature of the beverage is likely to reduce the activity of the organisms, slowing them down and making this less likely.

But one little bacterium isn't likely to kill you. In most cases, you need to ingest a dose of pathogenic organisms to be at risk of illness, and below that dose, the chances are good that your immune system will destroy them before they do any harm.

The only one I can think of where ingesting a single organism is risky, is Toxicara (a parasite), but the phase that puts humans at risk is a non-motile egg.

Contamination by flies is a more significant possibility.
#5
Old 03-21-2012, 10:00 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 12,056
dirt under finger nails will have lots of organisms and their eggs.

for safety sake use a beer hat for the root beer, have the wife place it there. you are alone in the garden, no one besides the wife will see you, unless the wife has a camera. hide the cameras before gardening would be best.
#6
Old 03-21-2012, 12:11 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Texas, USA
Posts: 9,212
What's a beer hat?
#7
Old 03-21-2012, 12:17 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Shakedown Street
Posts: 12,950
Quote:
Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
What's a beer hat?
It's a newfangled henfur.
#8
Old 03-21-2012, 12:20 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 12,056
Quote:
Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
What's a beer hat?
a hat with a cup/can holder(s) and a plastic hose to use as a flexible straw; allows hands free drinking.
#9
Old 03-21-2012, 12:53 PM
Member
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Brookfield, IL
Posts: 10,593
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnpost View Post
a hat with a cup/can holder(s) and a plastic hose to use as a flexible straw; allows hands free drinking.
Beer hat (a.k.a. beer helmet).
#10
Old 03-21-2012, 12:59 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 31,112
I swear to god I thought the thread was "Do Germans travel on can or bottle surfaces?"
#11
Old 03-21-2012, 01:12 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Obama Country
Posts: 6,583
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaamika View Post
I swear to god I thought the thread was "Do Germans travel on can or bottle surfaces?"
I came in here to say exactly the same thing. It's the capitalization of "Germs" that does it. When I see "Germ" with a capital, I'm expecting "German".

Last edited by SpoilerVirgin; 03-21-2012 at 01:13 PM.
#12
Old 03-21-2012, 01:18 PM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: CentralArkansas
Posts: 22,811
Interesting. I had always wondered if germs could crawl on surfaces.

Grasping the bottom edge of a container is something I started doing as a teen doing yard work. Really, its better to come inside and wash my hands before drinking anything. Especially if hands have been down in a flowerbed.

The beer hat idea is pretty good too. Thanks.

Last edited by aceplace57; 03-21-2012 at 01:21 PM.
#13
Old 03-21-2012, 01:23 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Somewhere near Boston
Posts: 9,907
Did your wife sterilize the top of the can before handing it to you? Or at least rinse it off? Because that can has spent some time in warehouses and none-too-clean stockrooms behind the refrigerated displays. Stuff has maybe spilled on it from higher shelves and mice and insects have used it as highways (and worst case, rest stops).

Fortunately, gardening should help you stop worrying about those possibilities too much.
#14
Old 03-21-2012, 01:39 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI USA
Posts: 19,921
Not all germs are harmful to humans.
#15
Old 03-21-2012, 01:49 PM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Hampshire, England
Posts: 13,357
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
Not all germs are harmful to humans.
According to a book I read the other day, "Of the millions of bacterial species on the planet, only about fifty are harmful to humans". I can't comment on the accuracy of that.

(That's Disgusting by Rachel Herz)
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:09 PM.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: soda keeper porntube links windex on car 4x4x10 lowes green canalope nutritionally complete wendy's baked potatoes keyboard clit byford dolphin remains strong chimpanzee detective sergeants female sir blocking telepathy komoroske sudoku no life meaning curing leather splice extension cord dead reconing visable fart pineapple vodka mix te quiero muchisimo dremel vs router define musume dope simpsons tmc showtime hedgehog vs hamster pygmy iq dream giveaway reviews traci lords underage baseball referees slew footed people buy wombats define plump antibiotics overdose queen bee barbeque how much money is a lot furnace blower starts then stops brake pedal fade causes toasted english muffins in oven buy dragon skin body armor price what happens if you eat expired butter calories in confectioners sugar cell phone ringer amplifier for home when a duck loses its mate what is pepto bismol made of how long does a direct deposit take is turkey bacon kosher do cherry blossom trees grow cherries toenail removed growing back thick how to make oil based paint dry faster 24 hour fitness add a family member price bisacodyl dosage for colonoscopy watch with large date display barnes and noble buyback to see a very faint star at night, look slightly away from it because this will how long can dog go without water baseball songs for slideshow mythbusters jessi combs tattoo bug bites on genital area missed period on the pill refrigerator door left open all night there once was a woman from venus brake pad replacement cost midas child called it movie can a ganglion cyst pop building a box spring reheating chicken wings in the oven