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Occupational exposure to inhalable pathogenic microorganisms in waste sorting

Vit. artikkel


  • 2023

This study assessed microorganisms in personal inhalable work air samples aiming to identify potential human pathogens, and correlate exposure to adverse health outcomes in waste workers. Full-shift personal exposure was measured in six different waste sorting plants. Microbial concentrations in inhalable air samples were analysed using MALDI-TOF MS for cultivable, and next generation sequencing (NGS) for non-cultivable microorganisms. Concentrations of bacterial and fungal CFUs varied substantially within and between waste sorting plants, ranging from no identifiable organisms to a maximum concentration in the order of 105 CFU/m3. Bacillus and Staphylococcus were among the most abundant bacterial genera, whilst fungal genera were dominated by Aspergillus and Penicillium. Approximately 15% of all identified species were human pathogens classified in risk group 2, whereas 7% belonged to risk group 1. Furthermore, significant correlations between concentrations of fungi in risk group 1 and self-reported adverse symptoms, such as wheezing were identified in exposed workers. The combination of culture-based methods and NGS facilitated the investigation of infectious microbial species with potential pathophysiological properties as well as non-infectious biological agents in inhalable work air samples and thereby contributed to the risk assessment of occupational exposure in waste sorting.
Occupational exposure to inhalable pathogenic microorganisms in waste sorting

Eriksen, Elke; Madsen, Anne Mette; Afanou, Komlavi Anani; Straumfors, Anne; Eiler, Alexander; Graff, Pål
International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 253
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