A study by Jack Gilbert and his team shows how new techniques are helping us understand how microbes (both harmful and non harmful) move around our homes and how we interact with them. This is important because we increasingly realise that the bacteria that colonize humans and our built environments have the potential to influence our health, both in a positive manner as well as by causing disease.
In this study, the microbial community (microbiome) associated with 7 families and their homes over 6 weeks was assessed, including 3 families that moved house. The types of microbes differed substantially among homes, and was largely sourced from the humans living there. Humans were also identified as the most important vector of microbes in each home.
Potential human pathogens observed on a kitchen counter could be matched to the hands of occupants. After a house move, a microbial community which was similar to that in the old house was rapidly established, again suggesting colonization by the family’s microbiota.
The publication can be found HERE.