A research article written by Nan Hui and Anirudra Parajuli et al. has been published in Environment International. The article is based on the finding that an agricultural environment and exposure to diverse environmental microbiota may confer protection against immune-mediated disorders. Therefore, it is crucial to determine whether the limiting factors in the transfer of environmental microbiota indoors are the same in the agricultural and urban environments.
The authors explored how sampling month, garden diversity and animal ownership affected the indoor-transfer of environmental microbial community. They collected litter from standardized doormats used in June and August 2015 and February 2016. In February, the diversity and richness of the whole bacterial community and the relative abundance of environment-associated taxa were reduced, whereas human-associated taxa and genera containing opportunistic pathogens were enriched in the doormats. In summer, the relative abundances of several taxa associated previously with beneficial health effects were higher, particularly in agricultural areas. Surprisingly, the importance of vegetation on doormat microbiota was more observable in February, which may have resulted from snow cover that prevented contact with microbes in soil.
These findings underline the roles of season, living environment and lifestyle in the temporal variations in the environmental microbial community carried indoors. As reduced contact with diverse microbiota is a potential reason for immune system dysfunction, the results may have important implications in the etiology of immune-mediated, non-communicable diseases.