Understanding recent advances in the MoBE field

Shared post by Rachel Adams & James Meadow As intrepid scientists working to understand the interactions between humans, buildings, and the microbes we share, a recently published review paper caught our attention. The piece, Recent Advances in the Microbiology of the Built Environment, by Konya and Scott, set out to synthesize what has been learned …

Cutting-edge technology for “sniffing” microbial volatiles coming to BIMERC as part of Sloan grant renewal

Posting a note from my [gleeful] chemistry colleagues Allen Goldstein and Pawel Misztal about the new instrument that is headed our way.  BIMERC will soon receive an exceptionally unique and powerful Proton Transfer Reaction Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer (PTR-ToF-MS 8000) for instantaneous detection of a full range gas-phase organics including microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC). There …

Sloan grant renewed for BIMERC

We got the great news that the Sloan Foundation has funded the proposal to continue the Berkeley Indoor Microbial Ecology Research Consortium. BIMERC is a collaboration of UC Berkeley scientists with a goal “to understand the microbial ecology of the build environment through interdisciplinary research that combines microbial biology, particle transport physics, chemistry, and architecture.” …

Transfer and resuspension – its not all bologna

There was a recent flash in the news about the ‘5-second rule’ when a group of microbiologists at Aston University in the UK released results from a study (that, from what I can tell, is unpublished). The summary reads, “The study…monitored the transfer of the common bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Staphylococcus aureus from …

Health and low energy buildings

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) held a conference last week on the topic “Environmental Health in Low Energy Buildings.” Although you wouldn’t necessarily guess it from the name, the society is a lively, welcoming group of folks from all over the world interested in improving the built environment. At this …

How biomass can bias high-throughput surveys of microbial communities

Puffballs are a type of fungus that is aptly named. You can ‘puff’ their ball-shaped fruiting bodies, and so many spores come out (a large one can contain 7 million), they make a visible cloud. This ostentatious and satisfying practice makes puffballs a popular choice for novice mushroom hunters tasked with bringing in specimens for …

Size matters, or what I learned from collaborating with environmental engineers

The Sloan Foundation recently convened grantees for the 2nd Conference on the Microbiology of the Built Environment, and the opening talk focused on the benefits of collaboration. Carlos Rodriguez reminded us (I’m paraphrasing), “When you look at problems in silos, you find solutions in silos. But when you look at problems across disciplines, you find …