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Environ Health Perspect. 2018 Jun 1;126(6):067001. doi: 10.1289/EHP3145. eCollection 2018 Jun.

Exposures Related to House Dust Microbiota in a U.S. Farming Population.

Author information

1
Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Dept. of Health and Human Services, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA.
2
Dept. of Medicine and Microbiome Core Facility, Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
3
Westat, Durham, North Carolina, USA.
4
Biostatistics and Computational Biology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Dept. of Health and Human Services, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA.
5
Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.
6
Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Dept. of Health and Human Services, Rockville, Maryland, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Environmental factors can influence the house dust microbiota, which may impact health outcomes. Little is known about how farming exposures impact the indoor microbiota.

OBJECTIVE:

We aimed to identify exposures related to bacterial communities in house dust in a U.S. farming population.

METHODS:

We used 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing to characterize bacterial communities in vacuumed dust samples from the bedrooms of a subset of 879 households of farmers and farmers' spouses enrolled in the Agricultural Lung Health Study (ALHS), a case-control study of asthma nested within the Agricultural Health Study (AHS) in North Carolina and Iowa. Information on current farming (past 12 mo), including both crop and animal farming, and other potential microbial sources was obtained via questionnaires. We used linear regression to evaluate associations between exposures and bacterial diversity within each sample, analysis of similarity (ANOSIM), and permutational multivariate analysis of variance (PERMANOVA) to identify exposures related to diversity between samples, and analysis of composition of microbiome to examine whether exposures related to diversity were also related to differential abundance of specific operational taxonomic units (OTUs).

RESULTS:

Current farming was positively associated with bacterial diversity in house dust, with or without adjustment for nonfarm exposures related to diversity, including presence of indoor pets, home condition, and season of dust collection. Many taxa exhibited differential abundance related to farming. Some taxa in the phyla Chloroflexi and Verrucomicrobia were associated [false discovery rate (FDR)<0.05] with farming but not with other nonfarm factors. Many taxa correlated with the concentration of house dust of endotoxin, commonly studied as a general marker of exposure to the farming environment.

CONCLUSIONS:

In this farming population, house dust microbiota differed by current farming status. Understanding the determinants of the indoor microbiota is the first step toward understanding potential relationships with health outcomes. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP3145.

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