University of Tulsa

To determine how ventilation and cleaning influence the microbial communities in indoor air and on surfaces

  • Amount $390,000
  • City Tulsa, OK
  • Investigator Richard Shaughnessy
  • Year 2014
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Microbiology of the Built Environment

Funds from this grant provide partial support for a study examining Native American students’ exposure to environmental asthma triggers at home and at school and will examine whether cleaning and ventilation interventions will result in fewer asthma symptoms and a decrease in school absences for the students.  Sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the study will conduct microbial sampling of homes and schools in the Cherokee Nation in pursuit of three primary objectives: Determine the impact of building ventilation on the airborne and surface concentrations and community structure of bacteria and fungi; Estimate the impact of cleaning on the microbial profiles present in floor dust samples; Study associations between in?depth microbial measurements based on DNA and the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) measurements, for assessing the effectiveness of surface cleaning. ATP measurements are the “gold standard” for evaluating cleaning in schools, health care settings, and food production facilities. Sloan funds will enable project leader Richard J. Shaughnessy of the University of Tulsa to augment his efforts by adding building science measurements and modern microbial measurements to the research protocols.   The study proposes to develop new findings about the impact of ventilation and cleaning on the microbial profiles found in indoor air, surfaces, and floors. The team will share their results through peer?reviewed journal publications, presentations at national and international conferences, and publications in trade journals aimed at the cleaning and ventilation industries.

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