A dust event or sandstorm can distribute particles over vast distances and with them, different types of microbes such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Survival is a challenge for these microbes under extreme dust conditions, that may last for several days (and up to weeks sometimes).

African dust over the Atlantic Ocean, by Nasa 2014
African dust over the Atlantic Ocean, by Nasa 2014

Our preliminary studies show that some of them do survive to colonize new environments where dust settles.

Dust Bacillus Isolates

By studying these dust-optimized bacteria we hope to better understand their unique survival strategies, including the production of previously unknown antibiotics, and storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide by mineralization, potentially impacting this way on the global carbon cycle.

Furthermore, as we might easily inhale these dust-associated bacteria, the results obtained here will provide insights on how dust microbial members impact our health.

Dust bacilus_MicroCT