Science News

House Dust Contains More Than 9,000 Microbes

Your house dust is alive and you didn’t even know it.

A study published this past week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. detailed the amount of microbial life contained in everyday house dust, and the results are, to say the least, lively.

To gather data for the study, the researchers, led by co-author Dr. Noah Fierer, an ecologist at the University of Colorado Boulder, collected dust from about 1,200 American homes.

All told, most American homes have about 5,000 different species of bacteria and 2,000 fungi species floating about in their homes, according to a story by The Huffington Post.

While the thought that there are thousands of microscopic fungi and bacteria dancing about in your dust may seem revolting, Fierer was quoted  as saying the microbes are harmless, and that some of them could be beneficial.

Also seminal in the study was the realization that, according to Fierer, scientists may be able to determine where you live, “who you might live with” and what kind of allergens you’re exposed to.

We can, to some degree, figure out where you live or at the least the climate where you live, and who you might live with including dogs and cats (and) we can figure out what potential allergens you may be exposed to inside your home.

Discovery News noted that, while the fungi in your home are determined by where you live, the bacteria camping out in your house’s nooks and crannies are there thanks to you, your pets and insects.

Fierer was quoted as saying that a the bodies of a home’s inhabitants “are clearly the source.”

Our bodies are clearly the source for many bacteria that end up in our homes.

An article by the BBC noted that while the study of where the various microbes come from is new science, the fact that they’ve been in homes has been a well known fact for a long time.

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