Airborne Bacterial Diversity from the Low Atmosphere of Greater Mexico City

Jaime García-Mena, Selvasankar Murugesan, Ashael Alfredo Pérez-Muñoz, Matilde García-Espitia, Otoniel Maya, Monserrat Jacinto-Montiel, Giselle Monsalvo-Ponce, Alberto Piña-Escobedo, Lilianha Domínguez-Malfavón, Marlenne Gómez-Ramírez, Elsa Cervantes-González, María Teresa Núñez-Cardona

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Greater Mexico City is one of the largest urban centers in the world, with an estimated population by 2010 of more than 20 million inhabitants. In urban areas like this, biological material is present at all atmospheric levels including live bacteria. We sampled the low atmosphere in several surveys at different points by the gravity method on LB and blood agar media during winter, spring, summer, and autumn seasons in the years 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012. The colonial phenotype on blood agar showed α, β, and γ hemolytic activities among the live collected bacteria. Genomic DNA was extracted and convenient V3 hypervariable region libraries of 16S rDNA gene were high-throughput sequenced. From the data analysis, Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, and Actinobacteria were the more abundant phyla in all surveys, while the genera from the family Enterobacteriaceae, in addition to Bacillus spp., Pseudomonas spp., Acinetobacter spp., Erwinia spp., Gluconacetobacter spp., Proteus spp., Exiguobacterium spp., and Staphylococcus spp. were also abundant. From this study, we conclude that it is possible to detect live airborne nonspore-forming bacteria in the low atmosphere of GMC, associated to the microbial cloud of its inhabitants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-84
Number of pages15
JournalMicrobial Ecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioaerosols
  • Hemolysis
  • High-throughput sequencing
  • Ion torrent
  • Mass spectrometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Soil Science

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    García-Mena, J., Murugesan, S., Pérez-Muñoz, A. A., García-Espitia, M., Maya, O., Jacinto-Montiel, M., Monsalvo-Ponce, G., Piña-Escobedo, A., Domínguez-Malfavón, L., Gómez-Ramírez, M., Cervantes-González, E., & Núñez-Cardona, M. T. (2016). Airborne Bacterial Diversity from the Low Atmosphere of Greater Mexico City. Microbial Ecology, 72(1), 70-84.