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      Architectural design influences the diversity and structure of the built environment microbiome

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          Abstract

          Buildings are complex ecosystems that house trillions of microorganisms interacting with each other, with humans and with their environment. Understanding the ecological and evolutionary processes that determine the diversity and composition of the built environment microbiome—the community of microorganisms that live indoors—is important for understanding the relationship between building design, biodiversity and human health. In this study, we used high-throughput sequencing of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene to quantify relationships between building attributes and airborne bacterial communities at a health-care facility. We quantified airborne bacterial community structure and environmental conditions in patient rooms exposed to mechanical or window ventilation and in outdoor air. The phylogenetic diversity of airborne bacterial communities was lower indoors than outdoors, and mechanically ventilated rooms contained less diverse microbial communities than did window-ventilated rooms. Bacterial communities in indoor environments contained many taxa that are absent or rare outdoors, including taxa closely related to potential human pathogens. Building attributes, specifically the source of ventilation air, airflow rates, relative humidity and temperature, were correlated with the diversity and composition of indoor bacterial communities. The relative abundance of bacteria closely related to human pathogens was higher indoors than outdoors, and higher in rooms with lower airflow rates and lower relative humidity. The observed relationship between building design and airborne bacterial diversity suggests that we can manage indoor environments, altering through building design and operation the community of microbial species that potentially colonize the human microbiome during our time indoors.

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          Most cited references 39

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            Over three decades of molecular-phylogenetic studies, researchers have compiled an increasingly robust map of evolutionary diversification showing that the main diversity of life is microbial, distributed among three primary relatedness groups or domains: Archaea, Bacteria, and Eucarya. The general properties of representatives of the three domains indicate that the earliest life was based on inorganic nutrition and that photosynthesis and use of organic compounds for carbon and energy metabolism came comparatively later. The application of molecular-phylogenetic methods to study natural microbial ecosystems without the traditional requirement for cultivation has resulted in the discovery of many unexpected evolutionary lineages; members of some of these lineages are only distantly related to known organisms but are sufficiently abundant that they are likely to have impact on the chemistry of the biosphere.
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              Error-correcting barcoded primers for pyrosequencing hundreds of samples in multiplex.

              We constructed error-correcting DNA barcodes that allow one run of a massively parallel pyrosequencer to process up to 1,544 samples simultaneously. Using these barcodes we processed bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequences representing microbial communities in 286 environmental samples, corrected 92% of sample assignment errors, and thus characterized nearly as many 16S rRNA genes as have been sequenced to date by Sanger sequencing.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                ISME J
                ISME J
                The ISME Journal
                Nature Publishing Group
                1751-7362
                1751-7370
                August 2012
                26 January 2012
                1 August 2012
                : 6
                : 8
                : 1469-1479
                Affiliations
                [1 ]simpleBiology and the Built Environment Center, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Department of Biology, University of Oregon , Eugene, OR, USA
                [2 ]simpleEnergy Studies in Buildings Laboratory, Department of Architecture, University of Oregon , Eugene, OR, USA
                [3 ]simpleSanta Fe Institute , Santa Fe, NM, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]simpleBiology and the Built Environment Center, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Department of Biology, University of Oregon , Eugene, OR 97405, USA. E-mail: skembel@ 123456uoregon.edu
                Article
                ismej2011211
                10.1038/ismej.2011.211
                3400407
                22278670
                Copyright © 2012 International Society for Microbial Ecology

                This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

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