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      Microbiome interplay: plants alter microbial abundance and diversity within the built environment

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          The built indoor microbiome has importance for human health. Residents leave their microbial fingerprint but nothing is known about the transfer from plants. Our hypothesis that indoor plants contribute substantially to the microbial abundance and diversity in the built environment was experimentally confirmed as proof of principle by analyzing the microbiome of the spider plant Chlorophytum comosum in relation to their surroundings. The abundance of Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukaryota (fungi) increased on surrounding floor and wall surfaces within 6 months of plant isolation in a cleaned indoor environment, whereas the microbial abundance on plant leaves and indoor air remained stable. We observed a microbiome shift: the bacterial diversity on surfaces increased significantly but fungal diversity decreased. The majority of cells were intact at the time of samplings and thus most probably alive including diverse Archaea as yet unknown phyllosphere inhabitants. LEfSe and network analysis showed that most microbes were dispersed from plant leaves to the surrounding surfaces. This led to an increase of specific taxa including spore-forming fungi with potential allergic potential but also beneficial plant-associated bacteria, e.g., Paenibacillus. This study demonstrates for the first time that plants can alter the microbiome of a built environment, which supports the significance of plants and provides insights into the complex interplay of plants, microbiomes and human beings.

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          Most cited references 31

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          QIIME allows analysis of high-throughput community sequencing data.

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            Search and clustering orders of magnitude faster than BLAST.

             Robert Edgar (2010)
            Biological sequence data is accumulating rapidly, motivating the development of improved high-throughput methods for sequence classification. UBLAST and USEARCH are new algorithms enabling sensitive local and global search of large sequence databases at exceptionally high speeds. They are often orders of magnitude faster than BLAST in practical applications, though sensitivity to distant protein relationships is lower. UCLUST is a new clustering method that exploits USEARCH to assign sequences to clusters. UCLUST offers several advantages over the widely used program CD-HIT, including higher speed, lower memory use, improved sensitivity, clustering at lower identities and classification of much larger datasets. Binaries are available at no charge for non-commercial use at
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              Metagenomic biomarker discovery and explanation

              This study describes and validates a new method for metagenomic biomarker discovery by way of class comparison, tests of biological consistency and effect size estimation. This addresses the challenge of finding organisms, genes, or pathways that consistently explain the differences between two or more microbial communities, which is a central problem to the study of metagenomics. We extensively validate our method on several microbiomes and a convenient online interface for the method is provided at

                Author and article information

                Front Microbiol
                Front Microbiol
                Front. Microbiol.
                Frontiers in Microbiology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                28 August 2015
                : 6
                1Institute of Environmental Biotechnology, Graz University of Technology Graz, Austria
                2Interactive Microbiome Research, Section of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical University Graz Graz, Austria
                3BioTechMed Interuniversity Cooperation Centre Graz, Austria
                Author notes

                Edited by: M. Pilar Francino, FISABIO Public Health, Spain

                Reviewed by: Elisabeth Margaretha Bik, Stanford University School of Medicine, USA; David Andrew Mills, University of California, Davis, USA

                *Correspondence: Gabriele Berg, Institute of Environmental Biotechnology, Graz University of Technology, Petersgasse 12/I, 8010 Graz, Austria gabriele.berg@

                This article was submitted to Microbial Symbioses, a section of the journal Frontiers in Microbiology

                Copyright © 2015 Mahnert, Moissl-Eichinger and Berg.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 32, Pages: 11, Words: 7066
                Original Research


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