HealthDay News — Every city has its own character, and new research suggests that could even extend to a municipality’s microbial communities. The findings were published online in mSystems.

Researchers analyzed microbes collected over one year from three offices in each of three places: Flagstaff, Ariz., San Diego, and Toronto.

The Flagstaff offices had richer microbial communities than those in San Diego or Toronto, which were more similar. The researchers also found that human skin is a major source of office microbes and that office floors have more microbes than walls or ceilings, likely due to materials carried in on workers’ shoes.

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“As we continue to expand our understanding of the microbiology of the built environment, possibly including routine monitoring of microbial communities to track changes that may impact human health, our results will help inform future research efforts,” senior author J. Gregory Caporaso, Ph.D., assistant director of the Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, said in a news release from the American Society for Microbiology.


1. Chase J, Fouquier J, Zare M, et al.  Geography and Location Are the Primary Drivers of Office Microbiome Composition. App Env Science. 2016; DOI: 10.1128/mSystems.00022-16.