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1.  Factors Affecting Vegetable Growers’ Exposure to Fungal Bioaerosols and Airborne Dust 
Annals of Occupational Hygiene  2011;56(2):170-181.
We have quantified vegetable growers’ exposure to fungal bioaerosol components including (1→3)-β-d-glucan (β-glucan), total fungal spores, and culturable fungal units. Furthermore, we have evaluated factors that might affect vegetable growers’ exposure to fungal bioaerosols and airborne dust. Investigated environments included greenhouses producing cucumbers and tomatoes, open fields producing cabbage, broccoli, and celery, and packing facilities. Measurements were performed at different times during the growth season and during execution of different work tasks. Bioaerosols were collected with personal and stationary filter samplers. Selected fungal species (Beauveria spp., Trichoderma spp., Penicillium olsonii, and Penicillium brevicompactum) were identified using different polymerase chain reaction-based methods and sequencing. We found that the factors (i) work task, (ii) crop, including growth stage of handled plant material, and (iii) open field versus greenhouse significantly affected the workers’ exposure to bioaerosols. Packing of vegetables and working in open fields caused significantly lower exposure to bioaerosols, e.g. mesophilic fungi and dust, than harvesting in greenhouses and clearing of senescent greenhouse plants. Also removing strings in cucumber greenhouses caused a lower exposure to bioaerosols than harvest of cucumbers while removal of old plants caused the highest exposure. In general, the exposure was higher in greenhouses than in open fields. The exposures to β-glucan during harvest and clearing of senescent greenhouse plants were very high (median values ranging between 50 and 1500 ng m−3) compared to exposures reported from other occupational environments. In conclusion, vegetable growers’ exposure to bioaerosols was related to the environment, in which they worked, the investigated work tasks, and the vegetable crop.
PMCID: PMC3277710  PMID: 22003240
agriculture; air sampling; beta-glucan; bioaerosols; exposure assessment; fungi; glasshouse; glucan; occupational environment
2.  Airborne Fungal and Bacterial Components in PM1 Dust from Biofuel Plants 
Annals of Occupational Hygiene  2009;53(7):749-757.
Fungi grown in pure cultures produce DNA- or RNA-containing particles smaller than spore size (<1.5 μm). High exposures to fungi and bacteria are observed at biofuel plants. Airborne cultivable bacteria are often described to be present in clusters or associated with larger particles with an aerodynamic diameter (dae) of 2–8 μm. In this study, we investigate whether airborne fungal components smaller than spore size are present in bioaerosols in working areas at biofuel plants. Furthermore, we measure the exposure to bacteria and fungal components in airborne particulate matter (PM) with a D50 of 1 μm (called PM1 dust). PM1 was sampled using Triplex cyclones at a working area at 14 Danish biofuel plants. Millipore cassettes were used to sample ‘total dust’. The PM1 particles (29 samples) were analysed for content of 11 different components and the total dust was analysed for cultivable fungi, N-acetyl-β-D-glucosaminidase (NAGase), and (1 → 3)-β-D-glucans. In the 29 PM1 samples, cultivable fungi were found in six samples and with a median concentration below detection level. Using microscopy, fungal spores were identified in 22 samples. The components NAGase and (1 → 3)-β-D-glucans, which are mainly associated with fungi, were present in all PM1 samples. Thermophilic actinomycetes were present in 23 of the 29 PM1 samples [average = 739 colony-forming units (CFU) m−3]. Cultivable and ‘total bacteria’ were found in average concentrations of, respectively, 249 CFU m−3 and 1.8 × 105 m−3. DNA- and RNA-containing particles of different lengths were counted by microscopy and revealed a high concentration of particles with a length of 0.5–1.5 μm and only few particles >1.5 μm. The number of cultivable fungi and β-glucan in the total dust correlated significantly with the number of DNA/RNA-containing particles with lengths of between 1.0 and 1.5 μm, with DNA/RNA-containing particles >1.5 μm, and with other fungal components in PM1 dust. Airborne β-glucan and NAGase were found in PM1 samples where no cultivable fungi were present, and β-glucan and NAGase were found in higher concentrations per fungal spore in PM1 dust than in total dust. This indicates that fungal particles smaller than fungal spore size are present in the air at the plants. Furthermore, many bacteria, including actinomycetes, were present in PM1 dust. Only 0.2% of the bacteria in PM1 dust were cultivable.
PMCID: PMC2758667  PMID: 19620231
actinomycetes; aerodynamic diameter of fungi; bacteria; bioaerosol; biofuel; exposure; inhalable dust; PM1 dust

Results 1-2 (2)