An Atlas of the Bacteria and Fungi We Breathe Every Day

Posted: May 3, 2015 in Tech

The two biggest factors that shape this airborne environment, according to study author and University of Colorado microbial ecologist Noah Fierer, are the types of soil and plants that are located in the area (affecting the acidity in the environment), and the climate (humidity, temperature, etc.) Cities, for example, tended to be more like other cities than the rural areas nearby, which Fierer attributes to urban areas tending to plant the same types of trees and flowers and playing host to the same types of wildlife (pigeons, rats, etc).

Fierer isn’t sure how to interpret the new map. He can’t even compare it to historical data; there isn’t any. But with this proof-of-concept in place, Fierer’s team is thinking bigger, planning to put filters on top of cars and drive around to gather air samples across large distances and regions. Ideally that’ll provide some insight into how airborne pathogens affect public health, agriculture and livestock, and wildlife epidemics.

But even that won’t provide more clarity on exactly which microbes you’ve inhaled while reading this. Don’t panic! Deep breath. Or not.

Full Story @ [Wired]

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