Accession Number:



Dynamics of the Dermatologic Microbiome in Military Members

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Final Report]

Corporate Author:

59th Medical Wing Science and Technology

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



New military members undergo a highly-regimented 7-week training course during which trainees live and work within the same group of approximately 50 subjects for nearly 24 hours a day. This environment allowed for the assessment of the impact of communal living on the collective skin microbiome. Purpose The objective of this pilot study was to investigate dynamic changes of the skin microbiome in basic military trainees BMT, in light of the unique environmental influences faced by this population. Patients and methods We evaluated collective changes in the skin microbiome of normal healthy adult basic trainees in response to communal living and universal Group A Streptococcus prophylaxis with penicillin over the course of their initial 7-week training course. Samples from 10 flights of trainees were collected by swabbing their forearms and foreheads upon arrival at Lackland AFB for their training week 0 which is prior to prophylaxis with penicillin, at the 4 week point, and at the conclusion of their 7-week course of basic military training. Three separate high-throughput sequencing platforms and three bioinformatic pipeline analysis tools were utilized to assess the data. Results At all three time points we found that the top three bacterial genera identified were Propionibacterium, Staphylococcus, and Corynebacterium. We detected a community membership difference between the initial week 0 samples and the week 4 and 7 samples. A strong inverse correlation between Propionibacterium and Staphylococcus was noted with Propionibacterium being high at week 0 and much lower at weeks 4 and 7 conversely, Staphylococcus was low at week 0 and higher at weeks 4 and 7, this relationship was noted in both the individual and collective specimens.

Subject Categories:

  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Microbiology

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]