Just a quick note that the meeting report from the Sloan-funded symposium “Microbiology of the Built Environment” held at Healthy Buildings Europe 2015 is now available in Microbiome. Summary below:
Excess or abnormal microbiological activity is both a cause and a consequence of unhealthful indoor environments. Building research, investigations, and remediation must identify compromised buildings in a prioritized manner to avoid potential harm to occupants. Currently, there are no good quantitative and objective criteria for determining and ranking either the status of buildings or the efficacy of remediation from a microbial perspective. In extreme cases of severely damaged buildings this lack of objective and quantifiable criteria is not a practical problem. However, there exists a large middle ground where consultants and remediation professionals would welcome criteria to rank and prioritize building conditions and to state the efficacy of methods used to address identified or potential problems. Classical microbiology is currently and effectively applied in qualitatively assessing the microbial condition of buildings. An important question is whether and which- molecular methods might be incorporated to aid in the diagnosis of a building’s “microbial status”. The use of high throughput DNA sequencing methods raises important questions as to how to interpret the results of ecological approaches to indoor environment research or applications.