Exposure to bioaerosols in the school environment in Brisbane, Australia

Salonen, Heidi, Duchaine, Caroline, Mazaheri, Mandana, & Morawska, Lidia (2012) Exposure to bioaerosols in the school environment in Brisbane, Australia. In 30th International Congress on Occupational Health, 18-23 March 2012, Cancun, Mexico.

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Abstract

Introduction: Exposure to bioaerosols in indoor environments has been linked to various adverse health effects, such as airway disorders and upper respiratory tract symptoms. The aim of this study was to assess exposure to bioaerosols in the school environment in Brisbane, Australia.

Methods: Culturable fungi and endotoxin measurements were conducted in six schools between October 2010 and May 2011. Culturable fungi (2 indoor air and 1-2 outdoor air samples per school) were assessed using a Biotest RCS High Flow Air Sampler, with a flow rate of either 50L/min or 20L/min. A rose pengar agar was used for recovery, which was incubated prior to counting and partial identification. Endotoxins were sampled (8h, 2L/min) using SKC glass fibre filters (4 indoor air samples per school) and analysed using an endpoint chromogenic LAL assay.

Results: The arithmetic mean for fungi concentration in indoor and outdoor air was 710 cfu/m3(125- 1900 cfu/m3) and 524 cfu/m3 (140-1250 cfu/m3), respectively. The most frequently isolated fungal genus from the outdoor air was Cladosporium (over 40 %), followed by isolated Penicillium (21%) and Aspergillus (12%). The percent of Penicillium, Cladosporium and Aspergillus in indoor air samples was 32%, 32% and 8%, respectively. The aritmetic mean of endotoxin concentration was 0.59 EU/m3 (0-2,2 EU/m3).

Discussion: The results of the current study are in agreement with previously reported studies, in that airborne fungi and endotoxin concentrations varied extensively, and were mostly dependent on climatic conditions. In addition, the indoor air mycoflora largely reflected the fungal flora present in the outdoor air, with Cladosporium being the most common in both outdoor and indoor (with Penicillium) air. In indoor air, unusually high endotoxin levels, over 1 EU/m3, were detected at 2 schools. Although these schools were not affected by the recent Brisbane floods, persistent rain prior to and during the study perios could explain the results.

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ID Code: 84479
Item Type: Conference Item (Other)
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: fungi, bioaerosols, air quality, schools
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EARTH SCIENCES (040000) > ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES (040100) > Atmospheric Aerosols (040101)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Environmental Monitoring (050206)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING (090700) > Environmental Engineering not elsewhere classified (090799)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 [please consult the authors]
Deposited On: 25 May 2015 23:12
Last Modified: 26 May 2015 00:22

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