A while back, my sister took me out for lunch. But we were too late getting to the place we wanted and we thought to stop at a sweet looking country pub. It was the first time I’d been to a pub since the smoking ban – truly – no smoking, no pubs for me.
She sent me in to ask if they would serve us a late meal. Well, I got as far as the counter, but didn’t bother to even ring the bell. The SMELL in the place was absolutely disgusting! The was no comforting tobacco smoke smell, just a rank old booze and dirty people pong. I shot out of there with some speed. We went home without a meal.
Tobacco smoke is antibacterial. It has sanitised places without us knowing for hundreds of years, until it was banned indoors. Shamans use “smudging” to purify and cleanse. In tests science has given weight to the effects of the smoke on bacteria. Everywhere where people used to smoke, is now more smelly and disgusting than before. And possibly more dangerous!
We each give off millions of bacteria from our human microbiome to the air around us every day, and that cloud of bacteria can be traced back to an individual. New research focused on the personal microbial cloud — the airborne microbes we emit into the air — examined the microbial connection we have with the air around us. The findings demonstrate the extent to which humans possess a unique ‘microbial cloud signature.’
“Our results confirm that an occupied space is microbially distinct from an unoccupied one, and and demonstrate for the first time that individuals release their own personalized microbial cloud,” the authors concluded.
The research sheds light on the extent to which we release our human microbiome to our surrounding environment, and might help understand the mechanisms involved in the spread of infectious diseases in buildings. The results also suggest potential forensic applications, for example to identify or determine where a person has been, though it is unclear whether individual occupants can be detected in a crowd of other people.