Airborne bacteria, fungi, and endotoxin levels in residential microenvironments: a case study
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Limited data are currently available on the concentrations of airborne bacteria, fungi, and endotoxins in indoor environments. The levels of aerial bacteria and fungi were measured at several microenvironments within a well-ventilated residential apartment in Singapore including the living room, kitchen, bedroom, toilet, and at a workplace environment by sampling indoor air onto culture medium plates using the 6-stage Andersen sampler. Total microbial counts were determined by collecting the air samples in water with the Andersen sampler, staining the resultant extracts with a fluorescent dye, acridine orange, and counting the microbes using a fluorescent microscope. The levels of airborne endotoxins were also determined by sampling the airborne microorganisms onto 0.4 μm polycarbonate membrane filter using the MiniVol sampler at 5 l/min for 20 h with a PM2.5 cut-off device. The aerial bacterial and fungal concentrations were found to be in the ranges of 117–2,873 CFU/m3 and 160–1,897 CFU/m3, respectively. The total microbial levels ranged from 49,000 to 218,000 microbes/m3. The predominant fungi occurring in the apartment were Aspergillus and Penicillium while the predominant bacterial strains appeared to be Staphylococcus and Micrococcus. The average indoor endotoxin level was detectable in the range of 6–39 EU/m3. The amount of ventilation and the types of human activities carried out in the indoor environment appeared to be important factors affecting the level of these airborne biological contaminants.
KeywordsBioaerosols Bacteria Fungi Airborne endotoxins Indoor Aerosols Allergens PM2.5
The authors thank Ms. Ong Yong Mei for her kind assistance with the collection and analysis of air samples during the field studies.
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