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Microbial contamination screening and interpretation for biological laboratory environments

By Xi Li, Xue Zhu, Wenjie Wang, Kang Ning

Posted 11 Oct 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/439570

Advances in microbiome researches have led us to the realization that the composition of microbial communities of indoor environment is profoundly affected by the function of buildings, and in turn may bring detrimental effects to the indoor environment and the occupants. Thus investigation is warranted for a deeper understanding of the potential impact of the indoor microbial communities. Among these environments, the biological laboratories stand out because they are relatively clean and yet are highly susceptible to microbial contaminants. In this study, we assessed the microbial compositions of samples from the surfaces of various sites across different types of biological laboratories. We have qualitatively and quantitatively assessed these possible microbial contaminants, and found distinct differences in their microbial community composition. We also found that the type of laboratories has a larger influence than the sampling site in shaping the microbial community, in terms of both structure and richness. On the other hand, the public areas of the different types of laboratories share very similar sets of microbes. Tracing the main sources of these microbes, we identified both environmental and human factors that are important factors in shaping the diversity and dynamics of these possible microbial contaminations in biological laboratories. These possible microbial contaminants that we have identified will be helpful for people who aim to eliminate them from samples.

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