Longitudinal analysis of microbial interaction between humans and the indoor environment

Science. 2014 Aug 29;345(6200):1048-52. doi: 10.1126/science.1254529.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / classification*
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity
  • Beds / microbiology
  • Family*
  • Floors and Floorcoverings
  • Foot / microbiology
  • Hand / microbiology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Household Articles*
  • Humans
  • Metagenome
  • Microbiota / genetics
  • Microbiota / physiology*
  • Nose / microbiology
  • Pets / microbiology
  • Surface Properties