I love the title. Although I think it would be more accurate to say that Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello and colleagues are wall whisperers since one really needs some help to hear what the walls are saying.
Abstract of the paper:
Westernization has propelled changes in urbanization and architecture, altering our exposure to the outdoor environment from that experienced during most of human evolution. These changes might affect the developmental exposure of infants to bacteria, immune development, and human microbiome diversity. Contemporary urban humans spend most of their time indoors, and little is known about the microbes associated with different designs of the built environment and their interaction with the human immune system. This study addresses the associations between architectural design and the microbial biogeography of households across a gradient of urbanization in South America. Urbanization was associated with households’ increased isolation from outdoor environments, with additional indoor space isolation by walls. Microbes from house walls and floors segregate by location, and urban indoor walls contain human bacterial markers of space use. Urbanized spaces uniquely increase the content of human-associated microbes–which could increase transmission of potential pathogens–and decrease exposure to the environmental microbes with which humans have coevolved.
Some nice figures which I am posting here. The paper is definitely worth checking out.
One thought on “Walls talk – or at least hold many secrets a wall whisperer can reveal”
Knowledge on building physics is crucial in order to give a holistic picture of reality. Walls have to sides. Buildings are not only the surfaces that occupants can see. The hidden side of building structures are often the source of microbes affecting occupants. The building microbiome and the human microbiome meet on indoor surfaces and air, but they develop and evolve in different niches. We have to focus more on building surgery if we want to better understand building health