Bacterial diversity in house dust: characterization of a core indoor microbiome

Jane Entwistle*, Jonathan R. Thompson, Ariadne Argyraki, Matthew Bashton, Lindsay Bramwell, Matthew Crown, Andrew Hursthouse, Khadija Jabeen, Amélia P. Marinho-Reis, Anil Namdeo, Andrew Nelson, David Pearce, Sanja Potgieter-Vermaak, Pat E. Rasmussen, Joanna Wragg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Our indoor microbiome consists of a wide range of microbial taxa. Whilst many of these microbes are benign, some are beneficial, some harmful, yet our knowledge of the spatial heterogeneity of bacterial assemblages in our residential environment remains limited. To investigate the existence of a common core house dust bacterial microbiome we selected household vacuum dusts, collected through a citizen science approach, from homes across two bioclimatic regions (UK, Oceanic/Maritime and Greece, Mediterranean). Following the extraction of DNA from each dust sample, we targeted the bacterial 16S rRNA gene using Illumina NextSeq sequencing. PERMANOVA analysis of the microbial communities at family level grouped samples within their distinct bioclimatic region and SIMPER analysis at genus level identified the statistically significant taxa responsible for driving diversity between these groups. A “common to all” core house dust microbiome consisted of Acinetobacter, Massalia, Rubellimicrobium, Sphingomonas and Staphylococcus; genera typically associated with human occupancy and common environmental sources. Additionally, a “unique location specific” microbiome was identified, reflective of the bioclimatic region. The Greek dusts indicated a lower average diversity than the UK house dusts, with a high abundance of Rhizobiaceae in the Greek samples. Our study highlights citizen science as a powerful approach to access the indoor residential environment, at scale, and establishes the existence of a “core” house dust microbiome independent of bioclimatic region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number754657
Pages (from-to)754657
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Environmental Science
Early online date23 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2021


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