Scientists from the Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE) at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have found that the air in the tropics is teeming with a rich and diverse range of at least 725 different microorganisms.
The findings of the study were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
Using a new sampling and DNA sequencing protocol of microbial communities in Singapore’s air, the researchers found that the composition of the microbial community in the tropical air changes predictably, with bacteria dominating in the day and fungi at night.
This day-night pattern and the diversity of airborne microorganisms in the near-surface atmosphere was previously unknown, as the atmosphere is technologically challenging to study. The study found that tropical air had a microbial diversity with similar complexity to other well-studied ecosystems, such as seawater, soil, and the human gut.