A recent study published by the Proceedings of the Royal Society B on household dust has unearthed some interesting results. This study, the most extensive of its kind, examined the microbiology of household dust from 1,200 people’s homes across the United States. The study used high-tech DNA sequencing technology to discover the number and types of micro-organisms living in the dust. To clarify, the amount of dust in your home is irrelevant, it is the variety of micro-organisms and bacteria living within your household dust that matters. No preferential treatment was given to those with more anal cleaning practices.What researchers found is that the fungi in your home is often closely coordinated to your location. Dust can identify the climate, topography, geology, and geography of the home. Additionally, data taken from the dust can be used to determine whether the house is occupied by males, females, or both. How so?
Dust is comprised of millions and millions of fungi and bacteria. Certain specific bacteria are unique to men, to women, to certain areas, or certain types of landscapes. By mapping the DNA of the dust, researchers are able to identify the many varieties of micro-organisms, which helps them to identify who or what brought those fungi into the house. For instance, men shed more fecal and skin related bacteria, women tend to shed heavy amounts of vaginal bacteria.
How can researchers use this data and these advances to our benefit? For starters. police and investigators plan to use this technology in order to profile suspects with nothing more than a spec of dust. Additionally, Dr. Jonathan Eisen from the University of California at Davis believes dust can be “a reservoir for genes involved in resistance to antibiotics, and much more.” With these encouraging reactions, it appears more studies of this kind will be conducted in the future.
In summation, the millions and millions of micro-organisms found in dust show many indicators of the homes inhabitants. Dust can determine sex, whether the owner has pets, what kinds of pets, how many pets, what the geology of their home looks like, where their home is, and more. As to which sex is dirtier, researchers confirmed that men do in fact shed more bacteria than women. This doesn’t necessarily mean men are dirtier, besides in the bedroom of course. Rachel Adams, a scientist at the University of California at Berkeley had this to say on bacteria being ‘dirty’,
“Recent studies are showing that the buildings where we spend most of our time contain great assemblages of microorganisms that you cannot see, and for the most part, those ‘cohabitants’ of our homes are just along for the ride, neither harmful or offering much benefit.”