There is a new #openaccess paper out that may be of interest to many working on microbes in the built envronment or microbes in air (indoors or outdoors): Challenges and Opportunities of Airborne Metagenomics by Behzad et al. in Gebome Biology and Evolution. There are some useful things in this paper and some strange things but it is definitely worth taking a look at. The authors outline five challenges to metagenomic studies of microbes in the air:
- low density of microorganisms in the air,
- efficient retrieval of microorganisms from the air,
- variability in airborne microbial community composition,
- the lack of standardized protocols and methodologies,
- DNA sequencing and bioinformatics-related challenges.
And then they discuss these in more detail. One thing I found somewhat strange is the lack of discussion of the issue that some of the DNA from air samples will be coming from living organisms and some of it from dead organisms. Regardless, the paper has some nice ideas and an overview of many aspects of airborne microbial sampling for DNA studies.