Fungi and bacteria grow in carpet at elevated relative humidity

Floor dust is an important source of human exposure to microbes due to dust resuspension, especially from carpeted floors. Sources of microbes in floor dust are known to include outdoor air, tracked-in soil, growth on materials, and shedding from occupants or pets, but we wanted to know if growth may also contribute to these microbial …

The Built Environment Reference Genome Collection… A First Taste

Over the last several years our lab has spent a fair bit of effort on collecting and sequencing genomes of bacteria from the built environment.  Genome sequences are useful for a number of reasons including facilitating metagenomics and understanding the actual metabolic capacity of particular microbes.  In particular we hope that genome sequences will facilitate …

Story behind the paper: Porphyrobacter mercurialis, a new species found by #citizenscience and then sent to the #iss

So our first attempt at entering the world of bacterial taxonomy and the description of a new species came out today with the thrilling title of “Porphyrobacter mercurialis sp. nov., isolated from a stadium seat and emended description of the genus Porphyrobacter“. The story leading to this paper took us into  a lot of new …

University of Oregon research on microbial communities in 72 homes

The University of Oregon published this announcement on AAAS’ EurekAlert: Oregon architecture researchers to study indoor air quality in 72 homes. So a good song to play while reading this post would be: “Portland, Oregon” ‌‌by Loretta Lynn & Jack White. The press release starts off with a short summary of this project: University of Oregon researchers and industry partners …

Breaking down human emissions

Microbiology of the Built Environment research these recent years have explored how humans are a source of microbes and microbial products indoors. To further study the effect of human occupancy on the biological aerosols of indoor space, our research group at Berkeley decided to move from observation studies to controlled experiments to isolate – and quantify – this …

Call for Papers! Microbiome special issue on the Microbiology of the Built Environment

Just a quick plug: Jack Gilbert and I are guest-editing a special issue in Microbiome dedicated to Microbiology of the Built Environment. We are now accepting original research, methods, and software article submissions to be considered for the special issue (planned for publication in late 2015). We are looking specifically for work that involves multiple aspects of the …

Building science measurements in the Hospital Microbiome Project: Part 2

  Back in October 2013 I wrote a blog post here called “Building science measurements in the Hospital Microbiome Project: Part 1” where I described the types of building environmental and operational measurements we were making at the time as part of Jack Gilbert’s Sloan-funded Hospital Microbiome Project (Jeff Siegel at the University of Toronto also played a …