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Airborne endotoxin and beta-D-glucan in PM1 in agricultural and home environments.

Singh U; Reponen T; Cho KJ; Grinshpun SA; Adhikari A; Levin L; Indugula R; Green BJ
Aerosol Air Qual Res 2011 Aug; 11(4):376-386
Objectives: Concentrations of microbial cell wall components such as endotoxin and beta-D-glucan in airborne submicrometer particle size fraction (PM1, defined as particles with median aerodynamic diameter, da less than or equal to 1 mu m) have not been well characterized. In this study, airborne concentrations of endotoxin and beta-D-glucan among different size fractions were quantified in two distinctly different environments: farms and homes. Effect of microbial source (farm type for farms and mold damage for homes) on size-fractionated concentrations was investigated. Methods: Airborne endotoxin and beta-D-glucan were collected on 7 farms and 184 suburban homes using NIOSH two-stage sampler, a cyclone air sampler that fractionates airborne particles into three size fractions: less than or equal to 1 mu m, 1-1.8 mu m and greater than or equal to 1.8 mu m. Results: Geometric means (geometric standard deviations) of airborne total endotoxin concentration on farms and in homes were 1.20 x 10(4) (7.57) EU/m3 and 2.67 (3.82) EU/m3, respectively. Similar values of airborne total beta-D-glucan concentrations were 1.80 x 10(3) (152.88) ng/m3 and 1.91 (2.83) ng/m3, respectively. Relative proportions of PM1 endotoxin, however, were significantly higher (p < 0.001) in home samples (7.9%) than in farm samples (0.3%). Likewise, the proportion of PM1beta-D-glucan was significantly higher (p < 0.001) in homes (28.2% vs. 2.3%). Farm type significantly influenced concentrations of PM1 beta-D-glucan (p < 0.05) and total beta-D-glucan (p < 0.001). Conclusions: The results of this study demonstrate higher proportions of PM1 endotoxin and beta-D-glucan in homes compared to farms. These data further emphasize the importance of conducting size-selective air sampling for microbial exposure assessment in homes.
Aerosol-particles; Aerosols; Aerosol-sampling; Agriculture; Airborne-dusts; Airborne-particles; Air-sampling-techniques; Cell-biology; Dust-particles; Dusts; Mathematical-models; Microbial-test-systems; Microorganisms; Microscopic-analysis; Models; Molds; Particle-aerodynamics; Particulate-sampling-methods; Quantitative-analysis; Author Keywords: Bioaerosol; Farms; Moldy buildings; Size-Selective sampling; Fine particles
Tiina Reponen, Department of Environmental Health, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R01-OH-004085; Grant-Number-T42-OH-008432
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Research Tools and Approaches: Control Technology and Personal Protective Equipment; Healthcare and Social Assistance; Services
Source Name
Aerosol and Air Quality Research
Performing Organization
University of Cincinnati
Page last reviewed: March 18, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division