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Urban Aerosols Harbor Diverse and Dynamic Bacterial Populations

Eoin L. Brodie, Todd Z. DeSantis, Jordan P. Moberg Parker, Ingrid X. Zubietta, Yvette M. Piceno and Gary L. Andersen
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 104, No. 1 (Jan. 2, 2007), pp. 299-304
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25426092
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Urban Aerosols Harbor Diverse and Dynamic Bacterial Populations
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Abstract

Considering the importance of its potential implications for human health, agricultural productivity, and ecosystem stability, surprisingly little is known regarding the composition or dynamics of the atmosphere's microbial inhabitants. Using a custom high-density DNA microarray, we detected and monitored bacterial populations in two U.S. cities over 17 weeks. These urban aerosols contained at least 1,800 diverse bacterial types, a richness approaching that of some soil bacterial communities. We also reveal the consistent presence of bacterial families with pathogenic members including environmental relatives of select agents of bioterrorism significance. Finally, using multivariate regression techniques, we demonstrate that temporal and meteorological influences can be stronger factors than location in shaping the biological composition of the air we breathe.

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