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Characterization Of The Microbial Community In Indoor Environments: A Chemical-Analytical Approach

Aleksandra Sebastian, Lennart Larsson

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ABSTRACT An integrated procedure is presented whereby gas chromatography-ion trap mass spectrometry is used to determine chemical markers of gram-negative bacterial lipopolysaccharide (3-hydroxy fatty acids with 10 to 18 carbon atoms), gram-positive bacteria (branched-chain fatty acids with 15 and 17 carbon atoms), bacterial peptidoglycan (muramic acid), and fungal biomass (ergosterol) in samples of settled house dust. A hydrolysate of 13C-labeled cyanobacterial cells is used as an internal standard for the first three markers. These analyses require two dust samples, one for 3-OH fatty acids, branched-chain fatty acids, and muramic acid and another for ergosterol. The method may be used to characterize microbial communities in environmental samples.