NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Biohazards in composted wood chips.

Olenchock SA; Sorenson WG; Kullman GJ; Jones WG; Marx JJ Jr.
Biodeterioration and Biodegradation 8, Biodeteriogens as Agents of Disease, 1991:481-483
Composted wood chips, leaves and the dust generated by the movement of such materials were analyzed for the presence of bacteria, fungi and their associated endotoxins. The study was initiated as part of an investigation into the causes of severe respiratory illness in a man who had shoveled two truckloads of composted material. The bulk materials were contaminated with 98.92 to 934.68 Endotoxin Units (EU) per milligram (mg). Airborne contamination was measured at 636.52EU/cubic meter in inspirable dust and 771.79EU/cubic meter in respirable dust. Fungi isolated from the bulk material included Aspergillus-fumigatus, Aspergillus-niger, Penicillium species, Rhizopus-microsporus, and Absidia species. Fungi isolated from airborne samples included A-fumigatus, A-niger, Penicillium species, Rhizopus-stolonifer, Cladosporium species and Trichoderma species. The patient's serum was found to contain antibodies to three different crude extracts of the wood chips. Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay detected antibodies against three isolates of A- fumigatus and of A-niger, but not against thermophilic actinomycetes, wood dust antigen, Penicillium-roqueforti or pigeon serum. The authors conclude that exposure to dust from composted wood chips and leaves poses a respiratory health risk due to the presence of microbial agents and their toxins.
Organic-dusts; Bacterial-dusts; Airborne-dusts; Microorganisms; Occupational-exposure; Immunological-tests; Dust-exposure; Wood-dusts
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Rossmoore HW
Fiscal Year
Source Name
Biodeterioration and Biodegradation 8, Biodeteriogens as Agents of Disease. H. W. Rossmore, Editor; Elsevier Applied Science, London
Page last reviewed: March 4, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division