Connecting Indoor Microbiome Studies with Indoor Chemistry

As people get more and more interested in the microbiology and microbiomes of the built environment, a critical additional step is to connnect this work to analyses of chemical compounds in the built environment.  Studies of chemicals in the built environment have of course been going on for a long time (e.g., in studies of indoor air quality).  I think now what will be very fruitful will be to connect information about the entire community of organisms in built environments with information about the entire quite of chemicals in those same environments.  In essence this is analogous to what people are doing in studies of the human microbiome trying to connect microbes to “metabolomes”.

Anyway – we will be trying to cover more of this intersection on microBEnet in the future so please, send us / me your ideas about interesting papers and resources of relveance.  Right now, I am trying to catch up on some reading on Indoor Chemistry and I thought I would share those papers with people here.  These four are what I am digging through now:

This is not my area of focus so I am sure there are other papers that may be good or better or worth looking at.  Suggestions would be welcome.



4 thoughts on “Connecting Indoor Microbiome Studies with Indoor Chemistry

  1. Jonathan,

    Good idea.

    Here are a few other articles to add to your reading list. (Sorry for being a bit self-serving in these suggestions.)
    • CJ Weschler, Ozone in indoor environments: Concentration and chemistry, Indoor Air 10, 269, 2000.
    • RA Rudel, DE Camann, JD Spengler et al., Phthalates, alkylphenols, pesticides, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and other endocrine-disrupting compounds in indoor air and dust, Environmental Science and Technology 37, 4543, 2003.
    • WW Nazaroff and CJ Weschler, Cleaning products and air fresheners: Exposure to primary and secondary air pollutants, Atmospheric Environment 38, 2841, 2004.
    • CJ Weschler and WW Nazaroff, Semivolatile organic compounds in indoor air, Atmospheric Environment 42 9018-9040, 2008.
    • CJ Weschler, Changes in indoor pollutants since the 1950s, Atmospheric Environment 43, 153, 2009.
    • T Salthammer, S Mentese, R Marutzky, Formaldehyde in the indoor environment, Chemical Reviews 110, 2536, 2010.

  2. Recently became aware that kitchen ovens actually involve pretty stern warnings of dangerous releases during “self-cleaning” because of release of carbon monoxide, for example. Lethal to birds.
    As a non-bird, you may argue, this should not worry me.
    But offering this as example of toxins we may not think of in our indoor environment. Perhaps understudied.


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Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. My lab is in the UC Davis Genome Center and I hold appointments in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine and the Department of Evolution and Ecology in the College of Biological Sciences. My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis (see my lab site here which has more information on lab activities).  In addition to research, I am heavily involved in the Open Access publishing and Open Science movements.