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Climate Change Could Affect Indoor Microbial Communities

Researchers investigated the intricate world of indoor microbial communities in five Nordic cities, providing insights into their relationship to human health. The study, which included 1038 households, emphasizes the important role of occupants and environmental factors in shaping the airborne bacterial microbiome found in indoor dust.

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This pioneering work, poised to redefine our understanding of indoor environments, has unveiled correlations between geographical location, meteorological conditions, occupants' characteristics, pets, and cleaning practices, and the composition of indoor microbiota.

Hesham Amin, Researcher, Faculty of Medicine, University of Bergen

Climate Change and Risk of Asthma and Atopy Development

Scientists found that diverse microbial exposure is inversely related to the risk of developing asthma and atopy. Using this information, the researchers discovered that protective “farm-like” microbiota, which was linked to lower asthma and atopy risk, had a higher abundance of specific outdoor-associated bacterial taxa. Surprisingly, these same taxa were less common in Bergen homes, where higher precipitation and lower wind speeds hinder their entry indoors.

Given the inevitable impact of climate change, the research group highlighted a vital implication. As global warming is anticipated to amplify precipitation patterns, wet deposition of outdoor particulates will increase, while outdoor bacteria entry into indoor environments will decrease.

As a result, less outdoor bacteria may contribute to indoor microbiomes. This shift has the possibility to have unintended consequences for immune health, jeopardizing the development and maintenance of a tolerogenic immune status.

This groundbreaking research brings into focus the intricate interplay between environmental factors, microbial communities, and their potential impact on human health. The findings serve as a clarion call for continued investigation into the delicate balance between our indoor surroundings and our well-being. As we navigate an ever-changing world, understanding the nuances of our indoor microbiome takes center stage, offering insights that could shape our living spaces and our health for generations to come.

Hesham Amin, Researcher, Faculty of Medicine, University of Bergen

Journal Reference:

Amin, H., et al. (2023) Indoor Airborne Microbiome and Endotoxin: Meteorological Events and Occupant Characteristics Are Important Determinants. Environmental Science & Technology.


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