Researchers in Sacramento are swabbing Regional Transit stops to collect and map bacteria as part of a world-wide project called MetaSUB.
Scientists in more than 80 cities around the world are collecting bacteria and sending more than 12,000 samples to a lab in New York City to be analyzed.
The project is called MetaSUB for “Meta” meaning large amounts of data and “SUB” for subways.
Micro biologists are trying to get a better understanding of what organisms are out there and what they mean for the world around us.
Dr. Robert Crawford is a micro biologist with California State University Sacramento taking part in the project with a group of undergraduate and graduate research students.
"To understand the way that we interact with those microbes, bacteria, and fungus,” Crawford said. “How we interact with those, what they contribute to health and disease is a really, really important thing for the future."
Over two days, the group swabbed garbage cans, benches, and other items along the city’s regional transit line for bacteria.
Each swab lasted three minutes then was placed in labeled tube to be sent to be analyzed.
The global group or researchers hope the information will help provide understanding that could be used in medical research and other fields that can help humans in the future.