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EM3 Study – Microbiota of NZ Homes

EM3 logo 226pxWould you like to take part in a research study aimed at investigating the levels of fungi and bacteria in NZ homes?

The EM3 Study will look for the first time at the communities of microbes (fungi and bacteria) that inhabit our homes. This survey is investigating whether there are differences in the microbiota (fungi and bacteria) occurring in New Zealand homes of different characteristics and whether these might have an influence on the health of those living in the home. It is now possible to look at many microbes in house dust by measuring traces of the chemicals that they produce. We are also studying whether any of these microbes or the chemicals they produce may have an impact on our health, and in particular our lung health.

Taking part in the EM3 Study includes:

  • Answering some questions to see if you and your household are eligible to take part.
  • A visit by researchers to your home (about 90 minutes), which would include taking some environmental air and vacuum dust samples from your home and answering a questionnaire about your home.
  • Having samplers in two rooms of your home for two weeks, including two temperature and humidity monitors, a volatile organic chemical monitor and some small plastic dishes to collect dust.
  • Having all household members who agree to take part and are over 9 years of age carry out a simple breathing test called a FeNO test to measure lung function (optional).
  • For some people, participation in the study would also include:
    • Carrying out a health questionnaire either over the phone or online.
    • Carrying out a blood test (optional).
    • Carrying out a nasal swab (optional).
    • Access to your GP records (optional).

This research is being conducted by the University of Otago Wellington and is funded by the Health Research Council. The study has been approved by the Central Health and Disability Ethics Committee (Ref: 19/CEN/76).

For more detailed information, please read our study information sheet:

EM3 participant information sheet (DOCX)


We will discuss the study eligibility criteria with you, but they include:

  • That you live in area that our study team is able to visit (currently this includes Auckland, Wellington, Tauranga, Hamilton and Christchurch – we may extend this, so please register your interest with us even if you don’t live in these areas).
  • That you have lived in your home for the past 6 months.
  • If you are in an apartment building, we haven’t also sampled the neighbouring properties from your building (we can check this).
  • That you aren’t planning major building works at your property prior to or during the study.


If you’d like more information, or would like to take part in the study, please contact us.
Tel +64 21 279 3311