Guest edited by Jack A Gilbert and Brent Stephens
This collection of research and reviews from Microbiome explores the microbiology of Built Environments (BE), the buildings, cities, and towns where we live and work. Over the last 80 years they have become our most intimate ecosystem. Yet our ignorance of this ecosystem is profound, despite its significant impact on humanity. The bacteria, fungi, and viruses that colonize these environments help shape the human microbiome, and can fundamentally alter the trajectory of our health. Designing our buildings and city spaces with the microbiome in mind may help to improve energy efficiency, health, sustainability, and consequently, worker performance and economic productivity. By mapping the microbiome of our built environments we may track biothreats and diseases, develop sophisticated early warning systems, and understand how a changing climate and increasing population density will shape this world.
The indoor microbiome may impact the immunological, physiological and neurological development of children. Infants can spend 98% of their first year of life indoors, with a highly depauperate exposure to a complex microbiome that would normally train a healthy immune system and stimulate healthy physiology and neurology. The indoor ecosystem, and the urban environment in particular, are hotspots for reduced microbial diversity, with this reduction having untold consequences for our health and wellbeing.
This collection of articles has not been sponsored and articles have undergone the journal’s standard peer-review process. The Guest Editors declare no competing interests.
View all collections published in Microbiome.