Over the last several years, scientists have made huge strides in understanding the microbiome – that is, the community of microorganisms populating our air, water and soil, as well as our bodies. In a blogpost this week, UC Davis biologist Jonathan Eisen draws attention to two new studies of the microbiome of the built environment – one on the microbial profile of a hospital NICU and one on the relationship between architectural design and the biogeography of buildings.
Eisen points out that a thorough understanding of microbial environments is crucial to changing the widespread fear of microbes, most of which are not only not harmful, but possibly crucial to maintaining healthy living spaces. He points out, “Just as we would not argue for killing all mammals simply because one might be annoying us, we need to stop trying to kill all germs just because some do us harm.”
Since it’s Caturday, we should point out that, besides being a very smart guy, Jonathan Eisen is a friend of kitties (evidence). He has served as a senior advisor on the not-terribly-serious Kitten Microbiome Project and also compiled a handy list of more rigorous scholarship on kitty gut bug microbiology on Mendeley. And he provided us with a great excuse to re-use these lolcats.