Filthy lucre: A Metagenomic Pilot Study of Microbes Found on Circulating Currency in New York City

Paper currency by its very nature is frequently transferred from one person to another and represents an important medium for human contact with and potential exchange of microbes. In this pilot study, we swabbed circulating $1 bills obtained from a New York City bank in February (Winter) and June (Summer) 2013 and used shotgun metagenomic sequencing to profile the communities found on their surface. Using basic culture conditions, we also tested whether viable microbes could be recovered from bills.