RESEARCH PAPER
Occupational exposure to organic dust, microorganisms, endotoxin and peptidoglycan among plants processing workers in Poland.
 
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1
Department of Occupational Biohazards, Institute of Agricultural Medicine, Lublin, Poland
2
Clinic of Pneumonology, Oncology and Allergology, Medical University of Lublin, Lublin, Poland
3
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Medical Microbiology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
4
Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Institute of Agricultural Medicine, Lublin, Poland
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Anna Góra   

Department of Occupational Biohazards, Institute of Agricultural Medicine, ul. Jaczewskiego 2, 20-950 Lublin, Poland
 
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2009;16(1):143–150
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ABSTRACT
The objective of present work was to determine and compare the components of bioaerosol in several sectors of plant processing industries. The study was conducted in 10 facilities engaged in herb and grain processing, flax threshing, grain storing, baking, and cereals production. The air samples were taken on glass fibre filters with an AS-50 sampler. We determined the concentrations of airborne microorganisms, dust, endotoxin and peptidoglycan. Total concentrations of viable airborne microorganisms ranged from 0.18-861.4 x 103 cfu/m3. The highest levels of microbial contamination of the air were observed at flax farms, in grain elevators and in a herb processing plant. Gram-positive bacteria and fungi were detected at all sampling sites and their median concentrations were respectively 18.1 x 103 cfu/m3 and 0.66 x 103 cfu/m3. The concentration of Gram-negative bacteria ranged from 0.0-168.0 x 103 cfu/m3. The concentration of thermophilic actinomycetes ranged from 0.0-1.45 x 103 cfu/m3. Qualitatively, Gram-positive bacteria constituted 23-93% of the total microbial count. The most common species were: Staphylococcus spp., Curtobacterium pusillum, Rhodococcus fascians, Aureobacterium testaceum, Sanguibacter keddieii, Microbacterium spp., and Bacillus spp. Gram-negative bacteria formed 0-48% of the total count. The species Pantoea agglomerans dominated in all examined air samples. Fungi constituted 2.5-76.9% of the total microbial count. Among them, Penicillium spp., Mucor spp., Alternaria spp., Aspergillus niger, and Aspergillus spp. were found. The dust concentration ranged from 0.18-86.9 mg/m3. The concentration of endotoxin was large and ranged from 0.0041-1562.6 microg/m3. Muramic acid, the chemical marker of peptidoglycan, was detected in 9 out of 13 (69.2%) collected samples. The concentration of peptidoglycan ranged from 1.93-416 ng/m3. A highly significant correlation was found between the individual components of bioaerosol determined in this study. The concentration of endotoxin was correlated with the concentration of Gram-negative bacteria, total microorganisms, and peptidoglycan (R>0.9, p<0.001). The concentration of peptidoglycan was correlated with the concentration of Gram-positive bacteria, Gram-negative bacteria, and total microorganisms (R>0.9, p<0.001).
eISSN:1898-2263
ISSN:1232-1966