Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) as a group are of major concern to those who study indoor air quality. A few of these are produced by microbes (mVOCs) but most are from our use of chemicals in building materials and disinfection. The potential role of microbes in the mediation of VOCs is not particularly well understood but represents a promising area of research.
In recent work from Denmark, researchers showed that specialized filters that host microbes can dramatically reduce concentrations of certain foul-smelling VOCs on a pig farm. They noted large reductions of several compounds and then characterized the microbes that had colonized the filters in order to identify the organisms responsible. The ultimate goal is to understand which microbes are involved in these processes and how we might use that information to reduce air emissions of noxious compounds.