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Choice of ventilation methods and occupant use influence the kinds of bacterial colonies that flourish in a space, according to a study at the University of Oregon, which was cited in Science Daily.
The University of Oregon's Biology and the Built Environment Center wants to study the "microbiome of the indoor world," according to the article. A research team sampled the dust of 155 rooms in the Lillis Business Complex, a LEED Silver-certified facility on campus.
Researchers found the dust in rooms which were generally unoccupied, such as mechanical rooms and storage closets, harbored more soil- and plant-associated bacteria. This type of bacteria was also prevalent, perhaps unsurprisingly, in rooms with natural ventilation. The Lillis Business Complex has one wing of offices with operable windows.
While researchers were reportedly not surprised by the kinds of bacteria found, as most were common bacteria readily found indoors and outdoors, the most common bacteria found were from the Deinococcus family, most commonly in mechanically ventilated rooms. "That might suggest that they are accumulating over time while other bacteria dry out and die in buildings," the article says. This type of bacteria is known for its resilience to radiation and dry conditions.
Researchers hope that this type of research will feed understanding of how architecture and human behavior can be used to foster healthier indoor environments.
Read the article here.