Highly biodiverse, healthier environments that have a wide range of species can promote good bacteria over bad, which has the potential to influence human health, a new report from the University of Adelaide has found.
The team of researchers found that degraded, low biodiversity land and soils tend to harbour more ‘opportunistic’ bacteria, while healthy, biodiverse ecosystems favour more stable and specialist bacteria.
They found that the bacterial communities more commonly found in degraded landscapes had “potential pathogenic character”, with many in the same genera as prominent disease-causing bacteria Bacillus, Clostridium, Enterobacter, Legionella and Pseudomonas.
Restoring a more biodiverse ecosystem, however, changed the bacterial composition towards more potentially immune-boosting microbial diversity.
“There is a growing body of evidence associating human health with green space around people's homes, and environmental microbes provide a likely connection between a healthy ecosystem and human health,” says lead author, Craig Liddicoat, PhD candidate with the University of Adelaide’s School of Biological Sciences and Environment Institute.
“However evidence of tangible mechanistic links between human and environmental health is still lacking, although we know that soil microbes are an important part of airborne microbial communities generated from a particular environment.