Urbanization reduces transfer of environmental microbiota indoors

A research article has been published

A research article on transfer of environmental microbiota indoors from the living environment has been published in Frontiers in Microbiology.  The article written by Anirudra Parajuli et al. is based on the fact that expanding urbanization is a major factor behind rapidly declining biodiversity. It has been proposed that in urbanized societies, the rarity of contact with diverse environmental microbiota negatively impacts immune function and ultimately increases the risk for allergies and other immune-mediated disorders. Surprisingly, the basic assumption that urbanization reduces exposure to environmental microbiota and its transfer indoors has rarely been examined. The authors investigated if the land use type around Finnish homes affects the diversity, richness, and abundance of bacterial communities indoors. Debris deposited on standardized doormats was collected in 30 rural and 26 urban households in and near the city of Lahti, Finland, in August 2015. The quantity of doormat debris was inversely correlated with coverage of built area. The diversity of total bacterial, Proteobacterial, Actinobacterial, Bacteroidetes, and Firmicutes communities decreased as the percentage of built area increased. Their richness followed the same pattern except for Firmicutes for which no association was observed. The relative abundance of Proteobacteria and particularly Gammaproteobacteria increased, whereas that of Actinobacteria decreased with increasing built area. Neither Phylum Firmicutes nor Bacteroidetes varied with coverage of built area. Additionally, the relative abundance of potentially pathogenic bacterial families and genera increased as the percentage of built area increased. These results support the hypothesis that people living in densely built areas are less exposed to diverse environmental microbiota than people living in more sparsely built areas.

Frontiers in Microbiology: Urbanization reduces transfer of diverse environmental microbiota indoors

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