Assessment of microbiological indoor air quality in an Italian office building equipped with an HVAC system
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Bonetta, S., Bonetta, S., Mosso, S. et al. Environ Monit Assess (2010) 161: 473. doi:10.1007/s10661-009-0761-8
- 654 Downloads
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the level and composition of bacteria and fungi in the indoor air of an Italian office building equipped with a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Airborne bacteria and fungi were collected in three open-space offices during different seasons. The microbial levels in the outdoor air, supply air diffusers, fan coil air flow and air treatment unit humidification water tank were used to evaluate the influence of the HVAC system on indoor air quality (IAQ). A medium–low level of bacterial contamination (50–500 CFU/m3) was found in indoor air. Staphylococcus and Micrococcus were the most commonly found genera, probably due to human presence. A high fungal concentration was measured due to a flood that occurred during the winter. The indoor seasonal distribution of fungal genera was related to the fungal outdoor distribution. Significant seasonal and daily variation in airborne microorganisms was found, underlining a relationship with the frequency of HVAC system switching on/off. The results of this monitoring highlight the role of the HVAC system on IAQ and could be useful to better characterise bacterial and fungal population in the indoor air of office buildings.