The BioBE Center’s inaugural article was published today in The ISME Journal (available online via Open Access). In it, Kembel et al. report the influence of architectural design on airborne microbial communities in a Portland-area hospital. As compared to outdoor air, the authors find that indoor air harbors less microbial diversity and a higher proportion of potentially pathogenic bacteria. The structure and composition of airborne microbial communities was correlated to a range of building attributes, suggesting that indoor microbiomes can be managed by judiciously manipulating building design and operation. Taken together, these results make the case for evidence-based architectural design informed by a solid understanding of indoor microbial ecology.
Once again, you can see Jessica Green discuss this work at TedGlobal 2011 here.