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A light rain can spread soil bacteria far and wide

rain is a vital part of most ecosystems water is necessary for life but sometimes under just the right conditions rain can also be a means of spreading bacteria it’s long been theorized that rainfall contributes to the spread of bacteria throughout local lands but figuring out the mechanics of what is actually happening at the surface has been much of a mystery until now using high-resolution imaging researchers from MIT took a look at the effect of raindrops falling on soil laden with bacteria when raindrops fall and hit dry soil bubbles form at the surface as these bubbles rise up and burst they release a spray of mist or aerosol into the air in previous work by the same team they identified this mechanism by way of explaining petrichor which is the earthy smell often notice after a rainstorm but now they found that these same aerosols are specifically responsible for spreading pathogens it turns out each aerosol can carry up to several thousand bacteria and that bacteria can remain alive for up to an hour so simply put if the soil is infected and it rain aerosols could launch the pathogens from the soil into the air and if there’s wind the potential for the bacteria to travel is vast before settling back on the ground to colonize in a brand new location of course it’s not exactly that simple through various lab tests involving dry soil clay and sand the researchers found in order for this to occur the conditions have to be just right they found droplets produced the highest number of aerosol can foil with temperatures around 86 degrees Fahrenheit similar to soils found in tropical regions they also found more aerosols were produced by droplets dispensed on sandy clay soils falling at speeds between and meters per second which is about the intensity of a light rain shower now that the team has identified the mechanism by which rain launches bacteria scientists can begin to develop ways to prevent the spread of pathogens as well as predict the places and environmental conditions where rain is most likely to spread disease you

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