Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Home microbiomes

Shared phylotypes heatmap for individual surfaces after consolidation of samples taken from the same surface type across temporal sampling series and homes

Noah has had me reading papers on microbial communities lately. 

The latest paper in Science by Lax et al. has some interesting aspects. 

The authors had 7 families swap standardized surfaces over 6 weeks. A few families even moved.

Microbial communities were tracked over time. 

Part of the interesting things they found was akin to forensics. People left microbial fingerprints on household surfaces. When a family moved into a new home, the fingerprint was rapidly established.

The best match between body parts and surfaces? 

Feet and kitchen floors. 

Hands and door knobs or light switches? Not so much, but still pretty good.

Noses? Didn't leave a microbial noseprint on anything.

I guess no noses pressed up against the window glass. Or no microbes being "picked" up by hands in those families.

Lax, S., D. P. Smith, J. Hampton-Marcell, S. M. Owens, K. M. Handley, N. M. Scott, S. M. Gibbons, P. Larsen, B. D. Shogan, S. Weiss, et al. 2014. Longitudinal analysis of microbial interaction between humans and the indoor environment. Science 345:1048-1052.

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