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Interface effect of natural precipitated dust on the normal flora of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus epidermidis

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This study aimed to evaluate the interface effect between five types of natural precipitated dust and two normal floras. Five kinds of natural dust (FC-1#, FC-2#, FC-15#, FC-18#, and FC-21#) were collected, and particle size and chemical components were detected by laser particle size analyzer and X-ray fluorescence (XRF). The elements, bacterial count, glucose (GLU) consumption, pH, and three biochemical indicators were measured after being co-cultured with Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus epidermidis in vitro. In addition, the changes of bacterial morphology were observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Results showed that most particles contained a high level of SiO2, which diameter ranged from 0.3 to 1.0 μm. The concentration of Ca showed s significant increase upon interaction with E. coli and S. epidermidis in all dusts (p < 0.01). Moreover, FC-1# and FC-21# induced obvious growth in bacterial count, glucose consumption, and pH after they reacted with two normal floras (p < 0.05). Besides, the results also showed an apparent increase in the concentration of pyruvate, β-galactosidase, and alkaline phosphatase (AKP) after being co-cultured with E. coli and S. epidermidis, in which FC-1# is enhanced in the most obvious. The E. coli interacted with dust made more indentations in surface, and the configuration became thin and long. Some broken bacteria were present, and bacterial wreckage was visible. Plenty of S. epidermidis interacted with dust gathered in the indentations of dust, particularly in pleated surfaces. Further, these findings demonstrated that the alkaline dust with higher Ca content stimulated the growth of bacteria, and irregularly shaped or thin dust would be easier to combine with bacteria and conduct interface effect.

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Alkaline phosphatase

E. coli :

Escherichia coli




Particulate matter

PM2.5 :

Airborne fine particulate matter

S. epidermidis :

Staphylococcus epidermidis


Scanning electron microscopy


X-ray diffraction


X-ray fluorescence


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This study was funded by the National Natural Fund Project of China (No. 41472046), the Key Program of National Natural Science Project of China (No. 41130746), and the Science and Technology Project of Sichuan Province, China (No. 2016JY0045).

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Correspondence to Faqin Dong.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Deng, J., Dong, F., Dai, Q. et al. Interface effect of natural precipitated dust on the normal flora of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus epidermidis . Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 22340–22347 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-9666-1

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  • Natural precipitated dust
  • Alkaline dust
  • E. coli
  • S. epidermidis
  • Ca
  • Interface effect