Published: March 16th, 2014
Revised: July 21st, 2014
THE BACTERIA that line our gut influence our digestion, risk of disease, and even our behaviour. But if you thought that these bacteria were just personal, think again. We not only share these gut bugs with the people and animals around us, we also exchange them with the dust in our homes.
Using cutting edge high through-put DNA sequencing, Sporometrics CEO Dr. James Scott and his colleagues investigated the bacterial make-up of faeces from young babies and the homes where the babies lived.
Scott’s group found a significant overlap in bacterial communities in a baby’s faeces and dust from their home, suggesting that a baby may be sharing their gut bacteria with the environment and vice versa.
This finding may have long-ranging implications on how our environments may influence our lives. How much of a personal imprint do we leave on our home? When we move to a new home, does the microbial imprint of the former occupants have the potential to affect us? And are these effects good or bad? Sorting out these interesting questions will be the focus of Scott’s future research.
Reference: Konya T, Koster B, Maughan H, Escobar M, Azad MB, Guttman DS, Sears MR, Becker AB, Brook JR, Takaro TK, Kozyrskyj AL, Scott JA, and the CHILD Investigators. 2014. Associations between bacterial communities in house dust and infant gut. Environmental Research 131: 25-30. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2014.02.005.