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Reports (2) from Indoor Air sessions on microbiology of the built environment

Things that jumped out at me from the afternoon session today.  For the morning session see here.

Norm Pace (CU Boulder) made the point during questions that when we talk about “pathogens” in metagenomic environmental sequences, what we really mean is “sequences related to pathogens” and that probably most of those sequences don’t come from pathogenic organisms.

Taking this concept even further was Jordan Peccia from Yale who talked about the fact that the actual allergenicity of Aspergillus Fumigatus spores varies quite widely.  So just a warning that “pathogen” or “allergenic particle” levels may overestimate health risks and that calculating appropriate regulatory regimes will be difficult.

I was surprised to hear Mark Mendell (CA Dept of Health) state that while there are strong epidemiological correlations between evident dampness in buildings and health outcomes (asthma etc.), there is no association with the numbers or types of particular microbes.  He suggested the microbiologists had some work to do.

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David Coil

David Coil is a Project Scientist in the lab of Jonathan Eisen at UC Davis. David works at the intersection between research, education, and outreach in the areas of the microbiology of the built environment, microbial ecology, and bacterial genomics. Twitter

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