Hands play a critical role in the transmission of microbiota on one's own body, between individuals, and on environmental surfaces. Effectively measuring the composition of the hand microbiome is important to hand hygiene science, which has implications for human health. Hand hygiene products are evaluated using standard culture-based methods, but standard test methods for culture-independent microbiome characterization are lacking. We sampled the hands of 50 participants using swab-based and glove-based methods prior to and following four hand hygiene treatments (using a nonantimicrobial hand wash, alcohol-based hand sanitizer [ABHS], a 70% ethanol solution, or tap water). We compared results among culture plate counts, 16S rRNA gene sequencing of DNA extracted directly from hands, and sequencing of DNA extracted from culture plates. Glove-based sampling yielded higher numbers of unique operational taxonomic units (OTUs) but had less diversity in bacterial community composition than swab-based sampling. We detected treatment-induced changes in diversity only by using swab-based samples (
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Zapka, C; Leff, J; Henley, J; Tittl, J; De Nardo, E; Butler, M; Griggs, R; Fierer, N; and Edmonds-Wilson, S, "Comparison of Standard Culture-Based Method to Culture-Independent Method for Evaluation of Hygiene Effects on the Hand Microbiome." (2017). Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Faculty Contributions. 30.