Project description:Kitchen sponges massively absorb and spread microorganisms, leading to contamination of kitchen appliances, surfaces, and food. Microwaving as an effective and widespread technique can rapidly reduce the microbial load of kitchen sponges. However, long-term effects of such treatments are largely unknown. Notably, it has been speculated that regularly applied domestic cleaning and disinfection may select for microbial communities with a higher pathogenic potential and/or malodorous properties. In this study, we distributed newly purchased polyurethane kitchen sponges to 20 participants, with the instruction to use them under normal household conditions for four weeks. Ten of the participants sanitized their sponges regularly by a standardized microwaving protocol, while the remaining ten sponges remained untreated. Metagenomic sequence data evaluation indicated that, in addition to bacteria, viruses, eukaryotes, and archaea were also part of the kitchen sponge microbiome. Comparisons of sanitized and untreated kitchen sponges indicated a trend towards a reduced structural microbial diversity while functional diversity increased. Microwave sanitization appeared to alter composition and metabolic properties of the microbial communities. Follow-up studies will have to show whether these changes are more positive or negative in terms of domestic hygiene, human health, and well-being.
Project description:The bacteria that colonize humans and our built environments have the potential to influence our health. Microbial communities associated with seven families and their homes over 6 weeks were assessed, including three families that moved their home. Microbial communities differed substantially among homes, and the home microbiome was largely sourced from humans. The microbiota in each home were identifiable by family. Network analysis identified humans as the primary bacterial vector, and a Bayesian method significantly matched individuals to their dwellings. Draft genomes of potential human pathogens observed on a kitchen counter could be matched to the hands of occupants. After a house move, the microbial community in the new house rapidly converged on the microbial community of the occupants' former house, suggesting rapid colonization by the family's microbiota.
Project description:Microorganisms influence the chemical milieu of their environment, and chemical metabolites can affect ecological processes. In built environments, where people spend the majority of their time, very little is known about how surface-borne microorganisms influence the chemistry of the indoor spaces. Here, we applied multidisciplinary approaches to investigate aspects of chemical microbiology in a house.We characterized the microbial and chemical composition of two common and frequently wet surfaces in a residential setting: kitchen sink and bathroom shower. Microbial communities were studied using culture-dependent and independent techniques, including targeting RNA for amplicon sequencing. Volatile and soluble chemicals from paired samples were analyzed using state-of-the-art techniques to explore the links between the observed microbiota and chemical exudates.Microbial analysis revealed a rich biological presence on the surfaces exposed in kitchen sinks and bathroom shower stalls. Microbial composition, matched for DNA and RNA targets, varied by surface type and sampling period. Bacteria were found to have an average of 25× more gene copies than fungi. Biomass estimates based on qPCR were well correlated with measured total volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. Abundant VOCs included products associated with fatty acid production. Molecular networking revealed a diversity of surface-borne compounds that likely originate from microbes and from household products.Microbes played a role in structuring the chemical profiles on and emitted from kitchen sinks and shower stalls. Microbial VOCs (mVOCs) were predominately associated with the processing of fatty acids. The mVOC composition may be more stable than that of microbial communities, which can show temporal and spatial variation in their responses to changing environmental conditions. The mVOC output from microbial metabolism on kitchen sinks and bathroom showers should be apparent through careful measurement, even against a broader background of VOCs in homes, some of which may originate from microbes in other locations within the home. A deeper understanding of the chemical interactions between microbes on household surfaces will require experimentation under relevant environmental conditions, with a finer temporal resolution, to build on the observational study results presented here.
Project description:Nitrogen dioxide (NO2 ), a by-product of combustion produced by indoor gas appliances such as cooking stoves, is associated with respiratory symptoms in those with obstructive airways disease. We conducted a three-armed randomized trial to evaluate the efficacy of interventions aimed at reducing indoor NO2 concentrations in homes with unvented gas stoves: (i) replacement of existing gas stove with electric stove; (ii) installation of ventilation hood over existing gas stove; and (iii) placement of air purifiers with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) and carbon filters. Home inspection and NO2 monitoring were conducted at 1 week pre-intervention and at 1 week and 3 months post-intervention. Stove replacement resulted in a 51% and 42% decrease in median NO2 concentration at 3 months of follow-up in the kitchen and bedroom, respectively (P = 0.01, P = 0.01); air purifier placement resulted in an immediate decrease in median NO2 concentration in the kitchen (27%, P < 0.01) and bedroom (22%, P = 0.02), but at 3 months, a significant reduction was seen only in the kitchen (20%, P = 0.05). NO2 concentrations in the kitchen and bedroom did not significantly change following ventilation hood installation. Replacing unvented gas stoves with electric stoves or placement of air purifiers with HEPA and carbon filters can decrease indoor NO2 concentrations in urban homes.Several combustion sources unique to the residential indoor environment, including gas stoves, produce nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and higher NO2 concentrations, are associated with worse respiratory morbidity in people with obstructive lung disease. A handful of studies have modified the indoor environment by replacing unvented gas heaters; this study, to our knowledge, is the first randomized study to target unvented gas stoves. The results of this study show that simple home interventions, including replacement of an unvented gas stove with an electric stove or placement of HEPA air purifiers with carbon filters, can significantly decrease indoor NO2 concentrations.
Project description:The built environment (BE) and in particular kitchen environments harbor a remarkable microbial diversity, including pathogens. We analyzed the bacterial microbiome of used kitchen sponges by 454-pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA genes and fluorescence in situ hybridization coupled with confocal laser scanning microscopy (FISH-CLSM). Pyrosequencing showed a relative dominance of Gammaproteobacteria within the sponge microbiota. Five of the ten most abundant OTUs were closely related to risk group 2 (RG2) species, previously detected in the BE and kitchen microbiome. Regular cleaning of sponges, indicated by their users, significantly affected the microbiome structure. Two of the ten dominant OTUs, closely related to the RG2-species Chryseobacterium hominis and Moraxella osloensis, showed significantly greater proportions in regularly sanitized sponges, thereby questioning such sanitation methods in a long term perspective. FISH-CLSM showed an ubiquitous distribution of bacteria within the sponge tissue, concentrating in internal cavities and on sponge surfaces, where biofilm-like structures occurred. Image analysis showed local densities of up to 5.4?*?1010 cells per cm3, and confirmed the dominance of Gammaproteobacteria. Our study stresses and visualizes the role of kitchen sponges as microbiological hot spots in the BE, with the capability to collect and spread bacteria with a probable pathogenic potential.
Project description:In the collective genomes (the metagenome) of the microorganisms inhabiting the Earth's diverse environments is written the history of life on this planet. New molecular tools developed and used for the past 15 years by microbial ecologists are facilitating the extraction, cloning, screening, and sequencing of these genomes. This approach allows microbial ecologists to access and study the full range of microbial diversity, regardless of our ability to culture organisms, and provides an unprecedented access to the breadth of natural products that these genomes encode. However, there is no way that the mere collection of sequences, no matter how expansive, can provide full coverage of the complex world of microbial metagenomes within the foreseeable future. Furthermore, although it is possible to fish out highly informative and useful genes from the sea of gene diversity in the environment, this can be a highly tedious and inefficient procedure. Microbial ecologists must be clever in their pursuit of ecologically relevant, valuable, and niche-defining genomic information within the vast haystack of microbial diversity. In this report, we seek to describe advances and prospects that will help microbial ecologists glean more knowledge from investigations into metagenomes. These include technological advances in sequencing and cloning methodologies, as well as improvements in annotation and comparative sequence analysis. More significant, however, will be ways to focus in on various subsets of the metagenome that may be of particular relevance, either by limiting the target community under study or improving the focus or speed of screening procedures. Lastly, given the cost and infrastructure necessary for large metagenome projects, and the almost inexhaustible amount of data they can produce, trends toward broader use of metagenome data across the research community coupled with the needed investment in bioinformatics infrastructure devoted to metagenomics will no doubt further increase the value of metagenomic studies in various environments.
Project description:Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a multifactorial disease including both genetic and environmental factors. We compared the diversity of intestinal microbesamong a cohort of IBD patients to study the microbial ecological effects on IBD. Fecal samples from patients were sequenced with next generation sequence technology at 16S rDNA region. With statistical tools, microbial community was investigated at different level. The gut microbial diversity of Crohn's disease (CD) patients and colonic polyp (CP) patients significantly different from each other. However, the character of ulcerative colitis (UC) patients has of both CD and CP features. The microbial community from IBD patients can be very different (CD patient) or somewhat similar (UC patients) to non-IBD patients. Microbial diversity can be an important etiological factor for IBD clinical phenotype.
Project description:Large quantities of kitchen waste are produced in modern society and its disposal poses serious environmental and social problems. The aim of this study was to isolate degradative strains from kitchen waste and to develop a novel and effective microbial agent. One hundred and four strains were isolated from kitchen waste and the 84 dominant strains were used to inoculate protein-, starch-, fat- and cellulose-containing media for detecting their degradability. Twelve dominant strains of various species with high degradability (eight bacteria, one actinomycetes and three fungi) were selected to develop a compound microbial agent "YH" and five strains of these species including H7 (Brevibacterium epidermidis), A3 (Paenibacillus polymyxa), E3 (Aspergillus japonicus), F9 (Aspergillus versicolor) and A5 (Penicillium digitatum), were new for kitchen waste degradation. YH was compared with three commercial microbial agents-"Tiangeng" (TG), "Yilezai" (YLZ) and Effective Microorganisms (EM), by their effects on reduction, maturity and deodorization. The results showed that YH exerted the greatest efficacy on mass loss which decreased about 65.87% after 14 days. The agent inhibited NH3 and H2S emissions significantly during composting process. The concentration of NH3 decreased from 7.1 to 3.2ppm and that of H2S reduced from 0.7 to 0.2ppm. Moreover, E4/E6 (Extinction value460nm/Extinction value665nm) of YH decreased from 2.51 to 1.31, which meant YH had an obvious maturity effect. These results highlighted the potential application of YH in composting kitchen waste.