Early Findings

This is an ongoing study, and although over 1,450 have taken part, we have a lot more analysis to do before we can address the key study questions. We also want to ask a lot more people to spit for science and help us explore our microbes!”

Some of our preliminary findings, and a microbe map, can be viewed at the Melbourne Museum and online.

Other preliminary findings include:

  • 1,453 people took part in this unique Australian study at the museum
  • They ranged in age from 2 years to 81 years of age
  • 1172 adults, and 281 children took park
  • 1349 (93%) live in Australia
  • 445 (~33%) reported speaking a language other than English with their family
  • Only 2% reported daily smoking, much lower than the 2017 average of 13.8% (Australian Bureau of Statistics).
  • Hours of sleep ranged between 2 and 13 hours, with adults averaging 7.2 hours a night, and those under 18 years 9.6 hours.
  • 51% of adults reported not feeling rested after sleep!
  • A large proportion of participants had completed higher education, including 46% a bachelor degree or Tafe3-4 certificate/diploma, and 30% a postgraduate degree.

Dietary preferences comprised:

  • 68% omnivore,
  • 18% flexitarian,
  • 5% vegetarian,
  • 4% pescatarian,
  • 3% vegan,
  • 1% other

Tooth brushing comprised:

  • 74% twice a day,
  • 22% once a day,
  • 4% less than once a day

Dietary intake

  • Only 12% of adult participants reported eating the recommended 5 serves of vegetables (or more) per day
  • About 30% of adults reported eating only one (or less) serve(s) of vegetables per day


  • Victorian participants reported significantly lower optimism and less life satisfaction than non-Victorian participants
    • Is this a ‘holiday effect’ for non-Victorians taking part. Interestingly, it was driven by comparisons to visitors from other Australian states and not overseas visitors.

Below is a figure of the 10 most common genera of bacteria we identified in participants saliva.

Genera (singular genus) are part of the ranking system applied to all living things (plus viruses and fossils), where genus sits below family and above species in ranking.

- For example, lions and tigers are different species, but are classified in the same genus (Panthera). Domestic cats are a different species and genus to their bigger cousins, but are in the same family (Felidae).

Bacterial Genera Identified