Assessing Microbial Contamination on Computer Lab Keyboards at CCSU

Sheila Chery and Michael Davis, Department of Biomolecular Sciences, Central Connecticut State University

Computer keyboards are a common source of microbial contamination, particularly common-use computers in student computer laboratories. An assessment of several keyboards at Central Connecticut State University was performed. A simple swabbing technique was developed and used to collect samples from specific locations on keyboards in a highly utilized computer lab. Samples were plated on media chosen to reveal total microbial count (nutrient agar) and to identify specific categories of potentially problematic microorganisms. These specialized media included mannitol salt agar, sheep’s-blood agar, eosin-methylene blue agar, and Sabouraud agar. Results can thus reveal the total degree of contamination, along with indications of staphylococcal, fecal, and yeast contamination. The results confirm our expectations for the presence of microorganisms, though the types of contaminants vary considerably.

Presented April 21, 2007 at the 61st Annual Eastern Colleges Science Conference, College of Mount Saint Vincent, Riverdale NY