Air Date: 4-13-2012| Episode: 243
This week on IAQ Radio we have James A. Scott, PhD CEO and Chief Scientific Officer of Sporometrics in Toronto CA…
This week on IAQ Radio we have James A. Scott, PhD CEO and Chief Scientific Officer of Sporometrics in Toronto CA. Dr. Scott shook up the IAQA Conference with his keynote presentation in LasVegas titled, “The Past, Present and Future of Indoor Microbiology. The past and present aren’t all that controversial but Dr. James predictions for the near future of indoor microbiology had the attendees and later the internet buzzing. How far off is the future? What new tools will indoor environmental professionals have at their disposal? What does this mean to laboratories and IEQ investigators?
James A. Scott, PhD is a professor of occupational and environmental health at the University of Toronto specializing in the recognition evaluation and control of microbiological hazards in the workplace and community. Dr. Scott is also the laboratory director of Sporometrics, a large accredited Canadian environmental microbiology laboratory currently celebrating 20 years in business. Dr. Scott has published over 50 journal articles and book chapters on environmental microbiology, and his work was recently the subject of a feature article in Wired Magazine.
Today’s guest on IAQradio was James A. Scott, PhD. Dr. Scott is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto and Laboratory Director at Sporometrics a Canadian Laboratory. The subject of today’s was the evolution of the study of indoor microbiology. Dr. Scott chronicled the fascinating history of indoor microbiology, discussed the present state of the art, and opined about the future.
Nuggets mined from today’s show:
-A gentleman scientist is a financially independent scientist who pursues scientific study as a hobby.
-Microbiology got off to a start when the Dutch biologist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek improved and popularized the microscope.
-Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution overshadowed his interest in aerobiology. While passing through the Cape Verde archipelago, 500 miles off the coast of Africa, Darwin noticed an orange dust on the ship’s deck and rigging. Darwin collected samples and sent them to C. G. Ehrenberg who under microscopy determined that many of the particles were or had been living organisms. In his doctorial thesis on the fungi of Berlin, Ehrenberg notably described Stachybotrys chartarum.
-As a tool in his search for an airborne pathway of cholera transmission, Pierre Miquel developed what is recognized to be the first known volume-based microbial air sampler.
-Louis Pasteur cultured microbes in petri dishes and examined them microscopically.
-Air samples were taken by Charles Lindberg on a flight over
the high Arctic in 1933, first demonstrating the long-range dispersal of fungal spores and plant pollen grains.
-Air sampling helps to understand the condition of the building but is unreliable for providing health-relevant exposure info.
-Current analytical approaches do not allow reconstruction of microbial composition in the sampled environment.
-There are far more microbes on the planet than we thought.
-Pigpen effect, we are continuously surrounded by a shell of particles.
-To understand human exposures to indoor microbes, we should look at dust not the air
-Moulds shouldn’t be growing in occupied buildings and need to be removed regardless of what they are.
-Exposure to dust mite allergen is known to cause asthma, but other allergens and biological materials are known to exacerbate it.
-The Sloan foundation is generously supporting indoor microbiology research.
-Carpets are an electrostatic collector for particles.
-Green products aren’t necessarily safer, citing: limonene + ozone = ultrafine particles.
-Our science is getting much better. The US National Children’s Study – a study of 100,000 US children – will help shed light on how to more accurately interpret findings.
-J. Craig Venter’s discovery of PCR was revolutionary but it took some years for people to figure out how to apply it. Ventner’s work allows photocopying of DNA with very simple tools, most of which are available in a regular kitchen, and using only a few specialized reagents.
-Changing emerging methods provide new technologies and questions: how to use them and are they worthwhile?
-Antibiotic use in early life is associated with the development of allergy and asthma. We think that, in part, this relates to the disruption of the microbes in our guts, which are instrumental in teaching our immune systems how to appropriately respond to foreign materials.
-Dieter cited many of the advancements that occurred in science over his tenure.
-The hour flew by as I furiously took notes for the blog. I suggest that you contact Dr. Scott and request a copy of his presentation: “An evolving architecture: The past, present & future of indoor microbiology”, his contact info is firstname.lastname@example.org . (Also AVAILABLE on www.iaqradio.com resources tab)
Joe and I hope that you had a wonderful Easter or Passover last weekend. My wife and I trekked to NJ to see and spend time with family.
Today’s music: Fungi Song by Mr. Parr
Z-Man signing off