Airborne algae: overview of the current status and its implications on the environment

Abstract

A diverse variety of microorganisms comprising bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoa and algae are found in the atmosphere. They have various implications in the environment and on the health aspects in living organisms. The spatial distribution and their prevalence is affected by climatic changes and other natural processes including human activities. Although bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoa and algae have been well studied, research in the area of airborne algae appears to be limited indicating that airborne algae are the least studied organisms in both aerobiological and phycological research. The main focus in the studies carried out so far include an analysis of diversity of airborne algae in different climatic conditions, at a particular locality or in different geographical regions. Few available studies review the allergenicity of the airborne algae to humans and/or its possible role in the ecosystem(s). Therefore, in this paper, we provide a comprehensive review of research carried out so far on airborne algae and suggest future research directions for fulfilling the existing gaps based on our understanding of the literature in this area of phycological research.

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Acknowledgments

The authors duly acknowledge the CSIR-IICT, Hyderabad, India for their support to carry out the study.

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Correspondence to Nivedita Sahu.

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Sahu, N., Tangutur, A.D. Airborne algae: overview of the current status and its implications on the environment. Aerobiologia 31, 89–97 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10453-014-9349-z

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Keywords

  • Microorganisms
  • Airborne/air-dispersed algae
  • Environment
  • Health
  • Global warming