Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Bioaerosols in the Suburbs of Ostrava during a One Year Period

Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Bioaerosols in the Suburbs of Ostrava during a One Year Period

Article excerpt


Aerosol particles are of key importance for air pollution. On average, 24% of atmospheric aerosols are particles of biological origin referred to as bioaerosols (1,2). These are various microorganisms (viruses, bacteria and fungi) as well as organic particles such as pollen grains, fungal spores and fragments, products or remnants of organisms (3, 4). Bioaerosol particles are of various sizes, ranging from pollen grains exceeding 100 pm in aerodynamic diameter to viruses as small as several micrometers in size; that is, PM^sub 10^, PM^sub 2.5^ and PM^sub 1.0^ particles are contained. Especially viruses, bacteria, spores and saccharides or proteins as components of the respirable fraction pose potential health risks (3, 5).

The main effect of bioaerosols on human health is the development of allergies and bronchial asthma caused by bacteria, fungi or pollen (5). Apart from bioaerosols, these conditions are contributed to by other airborne dust particles acting as carriers of allergens, aiding in spreading and maintaining bioaerosols in the atmosphere (6). Also important is the role of bioaerosols in the spread of infectious diseases (5, 7). Airborne endotoxins, lipopolysaccharide fragments of the cell of Gram-negative bacteria, produce acute toxic effects, bronchoconstriction, impaired lung function and, in case of chronic exposure, airway remodeling (4, 8). According to Thome (9), the minimum dose of endotoxins needed to cause a respiratory disease is likely to be 10 EU/m^sup 3^ (1 ng endotoxin may be approximately equal to 10 to 15 EU - endotoxin units).

Bioaerosols are ubiquitous but their distribution and concentrations are affected by numerous factors such as the size, density and shape of particles, temperature and relative humidity of the air, sunshine and human activity on the Earth's surface. Several studies have shown that whereas air temperature and sunshine increase concentrations of bacteria and fungi, these decrease with rising relative humidity of the air (6, 10, 11). Consistently with these regularities, significantly higher concentrations of bacteria and fungi were observed in many places of the world in summer and fall as compared with winter and spring (7). As for the variability throughout the day, a study by Fang et al. (11) reported the lowest concentrations of bacteria in the morning, as compared with the morning or evening. The concentrations of bacteria in the air generally range from 100 to 1,000 CFU/m^sup 3^ (CFU - colony forming unit), with significant differences between places (5); for instance, the mean concentrations were 2,217 CFU/m^sup 3^ in Beijing (11) and 671 CFU/m^sup 3^ in Poland neighbouring with our country (12). The acceptable indoor concentrations of bacteria or fungi are believed to be below 500 CFU/m^sup 3^ (13); no acceptable or harmful outdoor concentrations have been defined yet.

This study is concerned with airborne outdoor aerosols in the suburb of the city of Ostrava in the course of one year. The objective was to obtain information on concentrations of bacteria, fungi and endotoxins posing a potential health risk. In this area, seasonal and daily distributions of bioaerosols in the air depending on temperature, humidity and dew point were measured. It was of particular interest to assess the relationship between bioaerosols and particulate matter as this highly industrial region is typically characterized by excessive dust concentrations.


Sampling Site

Samples were collected in Polanka nad Odrou, which is suburban part of Ostrava city (Pig. 1). With its area of 17.3 square kilometers it is one of the largest city district inhabited by over 4,945 residents (1 October 2014). The river Odra flows along the border which is also the border of National nature reservation Polanská Niva. Part of this area is also incorporated into Protected Landscape Poodri. This area is characterized by many of swamp forests, numerous ponds, streams (Polancice, Mlÿnka) and gutters and there are also iodine-bromine water pumping stations that supply a nearby spa Klimkovice on Hylov (14). …

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