Radio Joe Live From – The 5th Annual SLOAN Microbiology of the Built Environment Conference – University of Colorado Boulder

Air Date: 6-3-2016| Episode: 416


This week Radio Joe was live from beautiful Boulder Colorado and Colorado University at the 5th SLOAN Microbiology of the Built Environment Conference. The conference is a gathering of the leading researchers in the world that study the microbiome of the built environment…

This week Radio Joe was live from beautiful Boulder Colorado and Colorado University at the 5th SLOAN Microbiology of the Built Environment Conference. The conference is a gathering of the leading researchers in the world that study the microbiome of the built environment. A diverse group of scientists from around the world have been meeting for the past five years to present their findings and collaborate on how the microbiome of the indoor environment can be defined, investigated, maintained and when necessary remediated. Joining us live from the conference were Carl Grimes, Ulla Harvenin Shaughnessy, PhD, Sarah Kwan, PhM, EIT and PhD Candidate at Cal Berkeley Iman Sylvain.

Cliff & Joe’s Blog

The Microbiology of the Built Environment Conference

MoBE Conference http://microbiologybuiltenvironment.weebly.com/

Last week Radio Joe was live from beautiful Boulder, Colorado and Colorado University at the 5th SLOAN Microbiology of the Built Environment Conference. The conference is a gathering of the leading researchers in the world that study the microbiome of the built environment.

A diverse group of scientists from around the world have been meeting for the past five years to present their findings and collaborate on how the microbiome of the indoor environment can be defined, investigated, maintained and when necessary remediated. Joining us live from the conference were Carl Grimes, Ulla Harvenin Shaughnessy, PhD, Sarah Kwan, PhM, EIT and PhD Candidate at Cal Berkeley Iman Sylvain.

The event was a fascinating glimpse into the work that scientists and researchers are doing to help us better understand the microbiome of our indoor environment. The research being discussed in Boulder this week will shape the future of the indoor environmental quality industry for years to come. There were numerous past guests at the conference and I caught a ride back to the airport with one, Jeff Siegel of the University of Toronto. When I asked him how it went he was pleased that things had come along as well as they have over the past five years. Early on the research was just getting going and there were not a lot of solid results to report. Since then the information and presentations have gotten better and there are more results which people can start to use.

Mark Hernandez, PhD (another past guest) and his colleagues at the University of Colorado did a fantastic job organizing the event. Most of the attendees were researchers but there was a strong contingent of practitioners present as well. The mix was a great idea and should help get the information out there and in use quicker.

Carl Grimes of Hayward Healthy Homes was our first guest. Carl has been a regular guest of the show since inception and in addition to his work at Hayward is a active member of many industry associations. Following are notes from Carl’s interview:

Had come from a presentation on Toxicity of dust presentation

Fins were early researchers of gram negative bacteria and mycobacteria.

Microbiome includes bacteria, fungi and viruses and the dynamic interaction between them. The microbiome consists of multiple big parts and many more subsets. There are at least 3-4 species of NTB mycobacteria that have been documented now.

There has been discussion here about both the physical and psychological consequences of the microbiome.

Emotional component of PTSD and connection with the microbiome is being studied by USAF.

Causes of inflammation, it’s a whole new world.

Carl and Joe both spoke about a presentation from a presentation by J David Miller, PhD. Following is what they took away:

Traced the emerging history of knowledge over years, always have had good info, nor always sure how to use the info.

Be careful not to chase shiny new things.

Be careful with the facts. Always consider other possibilities. Are you sure?

Dust mites ridiculed in the past, now concern about them is mainstream. Dust mites can be both a sensitizer and cause asthma. Dust mites now found all over the world. People know where to look now and all types of measurements getting better and more accurate.

Dust mites were first documented/found in Hawaii. Through DNA sequencing they have been traced back to they originated in Papua, New Guinea.

In the early days of Aflotoxin research it was not as widely accepted that Aflotoxin could lead to liver cancer. What held up wider acceptance were questions and variables such as: What is causing the liver cancer Aflotoxin or hepatitis?

Dr. Miller also spoke about the AAAI Practice Parameters with a focus on the dust mite practice parameter. You can download the Environmental Allergy parameters including dust mites here LEARN MORE http://www.allergyparameters.org/published-practice-parameters/alphabetical-listing/environmental-allergy-download/

Xerophilic fungi are a food source for dust mites. Thad Godish found that dust mites eat the fat off shed human skin cells. Most dust mites are found in upholstery and bedding where RH is high.

Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology is devoting an entire issue to fungi/mold. This information comes from what started out as a Practice Parameter.

The document includes a questionnaire for physicians to ask their patients about mold. 2nd level of questioning may include a site assessment.

Other tidbits Carl picked up from various presentations:

One study used a mechanical robot baby and sampling. When the robot hits carpet, there are higher dust levels in the babies breathing zone than in the adult breathing zone.

Particles rise and settle according to size, weight and aerodynamics.

Folks who take air samples must take notice: Particle settling patterns aren’t uniform. Mold is not distributed uniformly. Even QPCR differs. Labs and IEPs must be aware of how to separate out results.

Carl’s analogy: “Toxicity straw that breaks the camel’s back. Removing only the straw doesn’t fix the problem. It is necessary to unload the camel to fix the problem.”

We have huge data but we don’t know what is important. We don’t know what findings are positive or negative.

There are 10 X more fungi and bacteria cells than skin cells in the body.

The microbiome isn’t all bad so cleaning won’t solve the problem; cleaning may cause problems.

Carl also spoke about the presentation of Jeff Siegel, PhD:

Moisture from crawl space + moisture from occupant breathing moisture from occupant cooking & showers so what if the moisture is in the middle of the room? If it doesn’t condense and isn’t in liquid form it doesn’t matter.

4th form of water adsorbed water.

There were also several presentations on the Microbiome of drinking water from Kyle Bibby, PhD and Karen Dannemiller, PhD

Topics included looking at the delivery systems of water. The microbiome of water varies according to distance from treatment plant and other factors.

Efficacy of chlorine is also affected by distance.

15 E Coli meets safe drinking water standard.

Some good papers can be found here LEARN MORE at the U. of Pittsburgh site for Kyle Bibby, PhD http://www.engineering.pitt.edu/KyleBibby/

Some of Dr. Dannemillers papers can be found here, LEARN MORE https://ceg.osu.edu/people/dannemiller.70

There were also presentations that looked at how the microbiome may affect mental health.

The US military is looking into this issue and Andrew Hoisington, PhD of United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs spoke about some of his research, here is where you can LEARN MORE https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Andrew_Hoisington2

Dr. Ulla Haverinen-Shaughnessy, PhD and Sarah Elizabeth Kwan, PhM, EIT joined us for a short segment and talked about their research including work on the microbiome in Schools.

Multiple schools were studied. The microbiomes are different in different areas of the schools.

3 days after cleaning the microbiome bounces back to prior levels in quantity, awaiting results to determine types of organisms.

Some schools don’t clean desks; in others cleaning of desks is done by teachers in other by students.

New species of Non Tuberculosis Mycobacterium have been found in dust.

Iman Sylvein

During the poster presentations Radio Joe met Iman and had to get her eloquent and energetic perspective on the show. Iman is a PhD Candidate at Cal Berkeley and people like her are the future of this research. The future seems to be in good hands!

At academic conferences formal presentations are different than posters. Presentation of posters is a formal process of telling what you know in 15-30 minutes and then interacting with the audience and asking them what they think and seeking feedback.

This is a great opportunity for researchers from around the world to help each other ask good questions and do better research.

Her poster was titled “Impact of water damage on microbial communities in residential buildings”.

She is studying public housing stock and among other things has found that cats raise microbial load most likely due to litter boxes.

Z-Man signing off

 

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