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Weikl, Fabian; Tischer, Christina; Probst, Alexander J.; Heinrich, Joachim; Markevych, Iana; Jochner, Susanne; Pritsch, Karin (2016): Fungal and Bacterial Communities in Indoor Dust Follow Different Environmental Determinants.
In: PLOS ONE 11(4), e0154131


People spend most of their time inside buildings and the indoor microbiome is a major part of our everyday environment. It affects humans' wellbeing and therefore its composition is important for use in inferring human health impacts. It is still not well understood how environmental conditions affect indoor microbial communities. Existing studies have mostly focussed on the local (e.g., building units) or continental scale and rarely on the regional scale, e.g. a specific metropolitan area. Therefore, we wanted to identify key environmental determinants for the house dust microbiome from an existing collection of spatially (area of Munich, Germany) and temporally (301 days) distributed samples and to determine changes in the community as a function of time. To that end, dust samples that had been collected once from the living room floors of 286 individual households, were profiled for fungal and bacterial community variation and diversity using microbial fingerprinting techniques. The profiles were tested for their association with occupant behaviour, building characteristics, outdoor pollution, vegetation, and urbanization. Our results showed that more environmental and particularly outdoor factors (vegetation, urbanization, airborne particulate matter) affected the community composition of indoor fungi than of bacteria. The passage of time affected fungi and, surprisingly, also strongly affected bacteria. We inferred that fungal communities in indoor dust changed semi-annually, whereas bacterial communities paralleled outdoor plant phenological periods. These differences in temporal dynamics cannot be fully explained and should be further investigated in future studies on indoor microbiomes.