Another really interesting paper from Maria Dominguez-Bello and her lab and colleagues, “Home chemical and microbial transitions across urbanization”. They’ve done some fascinating work in the past on the microbiome changes across an urbanization gradient and here they expand that work to include a bunch of chemistry data. Definitely worth a read for anyone interested in the microbiology of the built environment.
Urbanization represents a profound shift in human behaviour, and has considerable cultural and health-associated consequences1,2. Here, we investigate chemical and microbial characteristics of houses and their human occupants across an urbanization gradient in the Amazon rainforest, from a remote Peruvian Amerindian village to the Brazilian city of Manaus. Urbanization was found to be associated with reduced microbial outdoor exposure, increased contact with housing materials, antimicrobials and cleaning products, and increased exposure to chemical diversity. The degree of urbanization correlated with changes in the composition of house bacterial and microeukaryotic communities, increased house and skin fungal diversity, and an increase in the relative abundance of human skin-associated fungi and bacteria in houses. Overall, our results indicate that urbanization has large-scale effects on chemical and microbial exposures and on the human microbiota.