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Compromised ecosystem services from urban aerial microbiomes: a review of impacts on human immune function


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Flies, EJ ORCID: 0000-0002-1013-0330, Jones, P ORCID: 0000-0002-4880-6711, Buettel, JC ORCID: 0000-0001-6737-7468 and Brook, BW ORCID: 0000-0002-2491-1517 2020 , 'Compromised ecosystem services from urban aerial microbiomes: a review of impacts on human immune function' , Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 8 , pp. 1-8 , doi: 10.3389/fevo.2020.568902.

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Biodiverse environments contribute to human health through a wide range ofecosystem services: from providing food and medicines to filtering our air and water.Exposure to biodiverse, airborne microbial communities (aerobiomes) contributes tothe development of healthy human-immune function. This overlooked but potentiallypowerful ecosystem service is akin to nature’s provision of traditional medicines andpharmaceutical compounds. But urban environments appear to support less diverseaerobiomes, suppressing this ecosystem service and potentially contributing to urbanassociateddiseases through altered immune function. Here, we synthesize the knownrelationships between aerobiome biodiversity and health and present the experimentallydemonstrated mechanisms that connect aerobiome exposure to immune function.We then summarize what is currently known about the effect of urbanization onaerobiomes and identify several important knowledge gaps in this field, includinga lack of rigorous, experimental, multi-scale studies demonstrating the mechanisticpathways between urbanization, altered aerobiomes and human health. We offerpractical approaches that can close these knowledge gaps and will facilitate the transferof knowledge and technology between microbiologists, urban ecologists and publichealthpractitioners. This synthesis should stimulate interdisciplinary research effortsto advance our understanding of how urbanization is impacting aerobiome ecosystemservices, and what that means for human health.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Flies, EJ and Jones, P and Buettel, JC and Brook, BW
Keywords: microbiome, microbiology, human ecology, aerobiome, urbanisation, urban ecology, urban, aerial, microbial, health, bioaerosol, airborne, exposure, biodiversity
Journal or Publication Title: Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN: 2296-701X
DOI / ID Number: 10.3389/fevo.2020.568902
Copyright Information:

Copyright © 2020 Flies, Jones, Buettel and Brook. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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