Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 7

Search results for: bioaerosols

7 Standardized Testing of Filter Systems regarding Their Separation Efficiency in Terms of Allergenic Particles and Airborne Germs

Authors: Johannes Mertl


Our surrounding air contains various particles. Besides typical representatives of inorganic dust, such as soot and ash, also particles originating from animals, microorganisms or plants are floating through the air, so-called bioaerosols. The group of bioaerosols consists of a broad spectrum of particles of different size, including fungi, bacteria, viruses, spores, or tree, flower and grass pollen that are of high relevance for allergy sufferers. In dependence of the environmental climate and the actual season, these allergenic particles can be found in enormous numbers in the air and are inhaled by humans via the respiration tract, with a potential for inflammatory diseases of the airways, such as asthma or allergic rhinitis. As a consequence air filter systems of ventilation and air conditioning devices are required to meet very high standards to prevent, or at least lower the number of allergens and airborne germs entering the indoor air. Still, filter systems are merely classified for their separation rates using well-defined mineral test dust, while no appropriate sufficiently standardized test methods for bioaerosols exist. However, determined separation rates for mineral test particles of a certain size cannot simply be transferred to bioaerosols, as separation efficiency of particularly fine and respirable particles (< 10 microns) is dependent not only on their shape and particle diameter, but also defined by their density and physicochemical properties. For this reason, the OFI developed a test method, which directly enables a testing of filters and filter media for their separation rates on bioaerosols, as well as a classification of filters. Besides allergens from an intact or fractured tree or grass pollen, allergenic proteins bound to particulates, as well as allergenic fungal spores (e.g. Cladosporium cladosporioides), or bacteria can be used to classify filters regarding their separation rates. Allergens passing through the filter can then be detected by highly sensitive immunological assays (ELISA) or in the case of fungal spores by microbiological methods, which allow for the detection of even one single spore passing the filter. The test procedure, which is carried out in laboratory scale, was furthermore validated regarding its sufficiency to cover real life situations by upscaling using air conditioning devices showing great conformity in terms of separation rates. Additionally, a clinical study with allergy sufferers was performed to verify analytical results. Several different air conditioning filters from the car industry have been tested, showing significant differences in their separation rates.

Keywords: airborne germs, allergens, classification of filters, fine dust

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6 Online Monitoring of Airborne Bioaerosols Released from a Composting, Green Waste Site

Authors: John Sodeau, David O'Connor, Shane Daly, Stig Hellebust


This study is the first to employ the online WIBS (Waveband Integrated Biosensor Sensor) technique for the monitoring of bioaerosol emissions and non-fluorescing “dust” released from a composting/green waste site. The purpose of the research was to provide a “proof of principle” for using WIBS to monitor such a location continually over days and nights in order to construct comparative “bioaerosol site profiles”. Current impaction/culturing methods take many days to achieve results available by the WIBS technique in seconds.The real-time data obtained was then used to assess variations of the bioaerosol counts as a function of size, “shape”, site location, working activity levels, time of day, relative humidity, wind speeds and wind directions. Three short campaigns were undertaken, one classified as a “light” workload period, another as a “heavy” workload period and finally a weekend when the site was closed. One main bioaerosol size regime was found to predominate: 0.5 micron to 3 micron with morphologies ranging from elongated to elipsoidal/spherical. The real-time number-concentration data were consistent with an Andersen sampling protocol that was employed at the site. The number-concentrations of fluorescent particles as a proportion of total particles counted amounted, on average, to ~1% for the “light” workday period, ~7% for the “heavy” workday period and ~18% for the weekend. The bioaerosol release profiles at the weekend were considerably different from those monitored during the working weekdays.

Keywords: bioaerosols, composting, fluorescence, particle counting in real-time

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5 Evaluation of Negative Air Ions in Bioaerosol Removal: Indoor Concentration of Airborne Bacterial and Fungal in Residential Building in Qom City, Iran

Authors: Z. Asadgol, A. Nadali, H. Arfaeinia, M. Khalifeh Gholi, R. Fateh, M. Fahiminia


The present investigation was conducted to detect the type and concentrations of bacterial and fungal bioaerosols in one room (bedroom) of each selected residential building located in different regions of Qom during February 2015 (n=9) to July 2016 (n=11). Moreover, we evaluated the efficiency of negative air ions (NAIs) in bioaerosol reduction in indoor air in residential buildings. In the first step, the mean concentrations of bacterial and fungal in nine sampling sites evaluated in winter were 744 and 579 colony forming units (CFU)/m3, while these values were 1628.6 and 231 CFU/m3 in the 11 sampling sites evaluated in summer, respectively. The most predominant genera between bacterial and fungal in all sampling sites were detected as Micrococcus spp. and Staphylococcus spp. and also, Aspergillus spp. and Penicillium spp., respectively. The 95% and 45% of sampling sites have bacterial and fungal concentrations over the recommended levels, respectively. In the removal step, we achieved a reduction with a range of 38% to 93% for bacterial genera and 25% to 100% for fungal genera by using NAIs. The results suggested that NAI is a highly effective, simple and efficient technique in reducing the bacterial and fungal concentration in the indoor air of residential buildings.

Keywords: bacterial, fungal, negative air ions (NAIs), indoor air, Iran

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4 The Effects of Local Factors on the Concentrations and Flora of Viable Fungi in School Buildings

Authors: H. Salonen, E. Castagnoli, C. Vornanen-Winqvist, R. Mikkola, C. Duchaine, L. Morawska, J. Kurnitski


A wide range of health effects among occupants are associated with the exposure to bioaerosols from fungal sources. Although the accurate role of these aerosols in causing the symptoms and diseases is poorly understood, the important effect of bioaerosol exposure on human health is well recognized. Thus, there is a need to determine all of the contributing factors related to the concentration of fungi in indoor air. In this study, we reviewed and summarized the different factors affecting the concentrations of viable fungi in school buildings. The literature research was conducted using Pubmed and Google Scholar. In addition, we searched the lists of references of selected articles. According to the literature, the main factors influencing the concentration of viable fungi in the school buildings are moisture damage in building structures, the season (temperature and humidity conditions), the type and rate of ventilation, the number and activities of occupants and diurnal variations. This study offers valuable information that can be used in the interpretation of the fungal analysis and to decrease microbial exposure by reducing known sources and/or contributing factors. However, more studies of different local factors contributing to the human microbial exposure in school buildings—as well as other type of buildings and different indoor environments—are needed.

Keywords: fungi, concentration, indoor, school, contributing factor

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3 Assessment of Bioaerosol and Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds in Different Sections of Library

Authors: Himanshu Lal, Bipasha Ghosh, Arun Srivastava


A pilot study of indoor air quality in terms of bioaerosol (fungus and bacteria) and few selective microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) was carried out in different indoor sections of a library for two seasons, namely monsoon and post monsoon. Bioaerosol sampling was carried out using Anderson six stage viable sampler at a flow rate of 28.3 L/min while MVOCs were collected on activated charcoal tubes ORBOTM 90 Carboxen 564.Collected MVOCs were desorbed using carbon disulphide (CS2) and analysed by GC-FID. Microscopic identification for fungus was only carried out. Surface dust was collected by sterilised buds and cultured to identify fungal contaminants. Unlike bacterial size distribution, fungal bioaerosol concentration was found to be highest in the fourth stage in different sections of the library. In post monsoon season both fungal bioaerosol (710 to 3292cfu/m3) and bacterial bioaerosol (298 to 1475cfu/m3) were fund at much greater concentration than in monsoon. In monsoon season unlike post monsoon, I/O ratio for both the bioaerosol fractions was more than one. Rain washout could be the reason of lower outdoor concentration in monsoon season. On the contrary most of the MVOCs namely 1-hexene, 1-pentanol and 1-octen-3-ol were found in the monsoon season instead of post monsoon season with the highest being 1-hexene with 7.09µg/m3 concentration. Among the six identified fungal bioaerosol Aspergillus, Cladosporium and Penicillium were found in maximum concentration while Aspergillus niger, Curvuleria lunata, Cladosporium cladosporioides and Penicillium sp., was indentified in surface dust samples. According to regression analysis apart from environmental factors other factors also played an important role. Thus apart from outdoor infiltration and human sources, accumulated surface dust mostly on organic materials like books, wooden furniture and racks can be attributed to being one of the major sources of both fungal bioaerosols as well as MVOCs found in the library.

Keywords: bacteria, Fungi, indoor air, MVOCs

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2 Microbial and SARS-CoV-2 Efficiency Analysis of Froumann HEPA Filter Air Cleaner Brand

Authors: Serap Gedikli, Hakan Çakmak, M. Buğra Güldiken, Duygu Yalnızoğlu


Air, which is necessary for living things to survive; while it carries some useful substances in it, it can also carry foreign particles of different sizes that may be harmful to the health. All airborne organic substances of biological origin, including bacteria, fungi, fungal spores, viruses, pollen, and their components, are called "bioaerosols". Nowadays, everyone spends most of their time in closed areas such as home, workplace, school, etc. Although it is known that outdoor air pollution affects health, it is not known that indoor air pollution has harmful effects in terms of health. In this study, indoor air microbial load and SARS-CoV-2 virus cleaning efficiency of Froumann brand air cleaners were studied. This work in 300 m³, 600 m³, and 1000 m³ completely closed areas without any air circulation with Froumann N80, N90, and N100 air-cleaning devices. Analyzes were performed for both areas at 60 minutes before and after the device was operated using a particle measuring device (Particles Plus 7302) and an air sampler (Mas-100 ECO). The measurements were taken by placing the test equipment 1.5-2 m away from the air cleaner. At the same time, the efficiency of the HEPA filter was evaluated by taking samples from the air outlet point of the HEPA filter using the air sampling device (Mas-100 ECO) after the device was started. Nutrient agar and malt agar are used as total mesophilic bacteria and total fungi. The number of colony-forming units per m³ (cfu/m³) was calculated by counting colonies in Petri dishes after incubation for 48 hours at 37°C for bacteria and 72 hours at 30°C for fungi. The change in the number of colonies and the decrease in the microbial load was calculated as a percentage value. SARS-CoV-2 activity analysis studies were carried out by İnönü University Microbiology Department in accordance with the World Health Organization regulations. Finally, the HEPA filter in the devices used was taken and kept under a certain temperature and humidity, and the change in the microbial load on it was monitored over a 6-month period. At the end of the studies, a 91%-94% reduction was determined in the total mesophilic bacteria count of Frouman brand N80, N90, and N100 model air cleaners. A decrease of 94%-96% was detected in the total number of yeast/molds. HEPA filter efficiency was evaluated, and at the end of the analysis, 98% of the bacterial load and approximately 100% of yeast/mold load at the HEPA filter air outlet point were decreased. According to the SARS- CoV-2 analysis results, when the device is operating at the medium airflow level 3, it can filter virus-carrying aerosols by 99%. As a result, it was determined that the Froumann model air cleaner was effective in controlling and reducing the microbial load in the indoor air.

Keywords: HEPA filter, indoor air quality, microbial load, SARS-CoV-2

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1 Bacterial Exposure and Microbial Activity in Dental Clinics during Cleaning Procedures

Authors: Atin Adhikari, Sushma Kurella, Pratik Banerjee, Nabanita Mukherjee, Yamini M. Chandana Gollapudi, Bushra Shah


Different sharp instruments, drilling machines, and high speed rotary instruments are routinely used in dental clinics during dental cleaning. Therefore, these cleaning procedures release a lot of oral microorganisms including bacteria in clinic air and may cause significant occupational bioaerosol exposure risks for dentists, dental hygienists, patients, and dental clinic employees. Two major goals of this study were to quantify volumetric airborne concentrations of bacteria and to assess overall microbial activity in this type of occupational environment. The study was conducted in several dental clinics of southern Georgia and 15 dental cleaning procedures were targeted for sampling of airborne bacteria and testing of overall microbial activity in settled dusts over clinic floors. For air sampling, a Biostage viable cascade impactor was utilized, which comprises an inlet cone, precision-drilled 400-hole impactor stage, and a base that holds an agar plate (Tryptic soy agar). A high-flow Quick-Take-30 pump connected to this impactor pulls microorganisms in air at 28.3 L/min flow rate through the holes (jets) where they are collected on the agar surface for approx. five minutes. After sampling, agar plates containing the samples were placed in an ice chest with blue ice and plates were incubated at 30±2°C for 24 to 72 h. Colonies were counted and converted to airborne concentrations (CFU/m3) followed by positive hole corrections. Most abundant bacterial colonies (selected by visual screening) were identified by PCR amplicon sequencing of 16S rRNA genes. For understanding overall microbial activity in clinic floors and estimating a general cleanliness of the clinic surfaces during or after dental cleaning procedures, ATP levels were determined in swabbed dust samples collected from 10 cm2 floor surfaces. Concentration of ATP may indicate both the cell viability and the metabolic status of settled microorganisms in this situation. An ATP measuring kit was used, which utilized standard luciferin-luciferase fluorescence reaction and a luminometer, which quantified ATP levels as relative light units (RLU). Three air and dust samples were collected during each cleaning procedure (at the beginning, during cleaning, and immediately after the procedure was completed (n = 45). Concentrations at the beginning, during, and after dental cleaning procedures were 671±525, 917±1203, and 899±823 CFU/m3, respectively for airborne bacteria and 91±101, 243±129, and 139±77 RLU/sample, respectively for ATP levels. The concentrations of bacteria were significantly higher than typical indoor residential environments. Although an increasing trend for airborne bacteria was observed during cleaning, the data collected at three different time points were not significantly different (ANOVA: p = 0.38) probably due to high standard deviations of data. The ATP levels, however, demonstrated a significant difference (ANOVA: p <0.05) in this scenario indicating significant change in microbial activity on floor surfaces during dental cleaning. The most common bacterial genera identified were: Neisseria sp., Streptococcus sp., Chryseobacterium sp., Paenisporosarcina sp., and Vibrio sp. in terms of frequencies of occurrences, respectively. The study concluded that bacterial exposure in dental clinics could be a notable occupational biohazard, and appropriate respiratory protections for the employees are urgently needed.

Keywords: bioaerosols, hospital hygiene, indoor air quality, occupational biohazards

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