Article

Aerobiologia

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 203-213

African desert dust in the Caribbean atmosphere: Microbiology and public health

  • Dale W. GriffinAffiliated withUnited States Geological Survey, Center for Coastal Geology and Regional Marine Studies
  • , Virginia H. GarrisonAffiliated withUnited States Geological Survey, Center for Coastal Geology and Regional Marine Studies
  • , Jay R. HermanAffiliated withNational Aeronautics and Space Administration/Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 916
  • , Eugene A. ShinnAffiliated withUnited States Geological Survey, Center for Coastal Geology and Regional Marine Studies

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Abstract

Air samples collected on St. John in the U.S.Virgin Islands were screened for the presenceof viable bacteria and fungi to determine ifthe number of cultivatable microbes in theatmosphere differed between ``clear atmosphericconditions'' and ``African dust-events.'' Resultsindicate that during ``African dust-events,'' thenumbers of cultivatable airborne microorganismscan be 2 to 3 times that found during ``clearatmospheric conditions.'' Direct microbialcounts of air samples using an epifluorescentmicroscopy assay demonstrated that during an``African dust-event,'' bacteria-like andvirus-like particle counts were approximatelyone log greater than during ``clear atmosphericconditions.'' Bacteria-like particles exhibitingautofluoresence, a trait of phototrophs, wereonly detected during an ``African dust-event.''

African Dust Caribbean ecosystem health microbiology public health