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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 99; doi:10.3390/ijerph14010099

Microbiological Contamination at Workplaces in a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Station Processing Plant Biomass

1
Institute of Fermentation Technology and Microbiology, Lodz University of Technology, Łódź 90-924, Poland
2
Department of Personal Protective Equipment, Central Institute for Labour Protection, National Research Institute, Łódź 90-133, Poland
3
Center for Analytical Chemistry, Department of Agrobiotechnology (IFA-Tulln), University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Konrad Lorenz Str. 20, Tulln, Vienna (BOKU) 3430, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Alessandra Cincinelli and Tania Martellini
Received: 9 November 2016 / Revised: 6 January 2017 / Accepted: 17 January 2017 / Published: 21 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Abstract

The aim of the study was to evaluate the microbial contamination at a plant biomass processing thermal power station (CHP). We found 2.42 × 103 CFU/m3 of bacteria and 1.37 × 104 CFU/m3 of fungi in the air; 2.30 × 107 CFU/g of bacteria and 4.46 × 105 CFU/g of fungi in the biomass; and 1.61 × 102 CFU/cm2 bacteria and 2.39 × 101 CFU/cm2 fungi in filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs). Using culture methods, we found 8 genera of mesophilic bacteria and 7 of fungi in the air; 10 genera each of bacteria and fungi in the biomass; and 2 and 5, respectively, on the FFRs. Metagenomic analysis (Illumina MiSeq) revealed the presence of 46 bacterial and 5 fungal genera on the FFRs, including potential pathogens Candida tropicalis, Escherichia coli, Prevotella sp., Aspergillus sp., Penicillium sp.). The ability of microorganisms to create a biofilm on the FFRs was confirmed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). We also identified secondary metabolites in the biomass and FFRs, including fumigaclavines, quinocitrinines, sterigmatocistin, and 3-nitropropionic acid, which may be toxic to humans. Due to the presence of potential pathogens and mycotoxins, the level of microbiological contamination at workplaces in CHPs should be monitored. View Full-Text
Keywords: plant biomass; workplace bioaerosols; harmful biological agents; filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs); airborne dust plant biomass; workplace bioaerosols; harmful biological agents; filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs); airborne dust
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Szulc, J.; Otlewska, A.; Okrasa, M.; Majchrzycka, K.; Sulyok, M.; Gutarowska, B. Microbiological Contamination at Workplaces in a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Station Processing Plant Biomass. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 99.

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