Here at Aunt Fannie’s, our Google News alerts are set to help us stay up to date with everything related to a healthy home environment. From cleaning tips and air quality updates to new research about the microbiome, we’re doing the research to pass along the best tidbits of helpful and exciting info and big ideas right to you. Here’s what had us gabbing around the coffee pot this month—probiotics for plants, the cleaning power of sunlight, and why you can probably calm down about the bacteria on your kitchen sponge.tomatoes

Probiotics for vegetables? Some plants nurture soil bacteria that keep them healthy. (via the Economist)

Scientists in South Korea found that some varieties of tomato release compounds that encourage the growth of bacteria that in turn protect the plants from disease. It’s a botanical scratch-my-back, I’ll-scratch-yours kinda thing that could totally revolutionize agriculture and protect crops worldwide.

The Microbiome Might Be the Secret to a Mission to Mars (via

It’s not science fiction—we simply can’t send astronauts on deep space missions until we find a way to protect their microbiomes. It comes down to microbe-killing galactic cosmic radiation, which can trigger the development of cancerous tumors. Luckily, if NASA can hack the secrets to gut health for interplanetary travel, we’ll likely see leaps in our understanding of gut-related disorders here on earth!

Grandma Was Right: Sunshine Helps Kill Germs Indoors (via NPR)

Want to stay healthy this flu season? Throw open the curtains! Researchers at the University of Oregon gathered dust from local homes, set up dollhouse-sized rooms, and exposed them to sunlight, UV light, or darkness for 90 days. The sunlit rooms had half the active bacteria as the dark rooms!

How Nasty is Your Kitchen Sponge, Really? (via uBiome)

Unless you’re regularly mopping up raw meat, you probably don’t need to worry too much about the much-maligned scrubber. In fact, we’d likely all be a bit healthier if we embraced the fact that we live constantly surrounded by microbes, and instead of trying to sanitize them into oblivion got busy nourishing the good bacteria that keeps our environment truly healthy by crowding out the baddies.

Have You Heard About Your “Exposome”? (via Cell)

Your exposome is made up of bacteria and other airborne particles that you gather from your home, your pets, and the chemicals you use in your daily life. New research published in Cell discovered that folks living in the same environment have signature ‘microbiome clouds’ and should make us all stop and think—what’s making up your exposome?

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