Thursday, 13 March 2014

Architecture influences the indoor microbiome

Various aspects of a building’s design and use, including the number of doors per room, its average occupancy, and the way air circulates, can influence the makeup of the bacterial communities that occupy the space, according to a study published in PLOS One - 'Architectural Design Drives the Biogeography of Indoor Bacterial Communities'.

The research comes from biologists and architects at the University of Oregon’s Biology and the Built Environment Center, who vacuumed up dust samples from around the university’s Lillis Hall, then analyzed bacterial DNA from the samples to estimate microbial diversity.

The team identified nearly 33,000 different major groups of bacteria in its survey, with different room types comprising a unique microbial composition. Known gut bacteria were common in bathrooms, for example, while offices with windows tended to have more soil- and plant-associated bacterial species.

Posted by Tim Sandle