This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ Preprints) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.
High throughput sequencing techniques have opened up the world of microbial diversity to scientists, and a flurry of studies in the most remote and extreme habitats on earth have begun to elucidate the key roles of microbes in ecosystems with extreme conditions. These same environmental extremes can also be found closer to humans, even in our homes. Here, we used high throughput sequencing techniques to assess bacterial and archaeal diversity in the extreme environments inside human homes (e.g., dishwashers, hot water heaters, washing machine bleach reservoirs, etc.). We focused on habitats in the home with extreme temperature, pH and chemical environmental conditions. We found a lower diversity of microbes in these extreme home environments compared to less extreme habitats in the home. However, we were nonetheless able to detect sequences from a relatively diverse array of bacteria and archaea. Habitats with extreme temperatures alone appeared to be able to support a greater diversity of microbes than habitats with extreme pH or extreme chemical environments alone. Microbial diversity was lowest when habitats had both extreme temperature and one of these other extremes. In habitats with both extreme temperatures and extreme pH, taxa with known associations with extreme conditions dominated. Our findings highlight the importance of examining interactive effects of multiple environmental extremes on microbial communities. Inasmuch as taxa from extreme environments can be both beneficial and harmful to humans, our findings also suggest future work to understand both the threats and opportunities posed by the life in these habitats.
We responded to reviewers, and this is the latest version of the manuscript.
"Following" is like subscribing to any updates related to a preprint.
These updates will appear in your home dashboard each time you visit PeerJ.
You can also choose to receive updates via daily or weekly email digests.
If you are following multiple preprints then we will send you
no more than one email per day or week based on your preferences.
Note: You are now also subscribed to the subject areas of this preprint
and will receive updates in the daily or weekly email digests if turned on.
You can add specific subject areas through your profile settings.