The release of pathogens into the air from swine confinement buildings are mitigated through preventative measures, such as outgoing air filtration, to reduce the risk of spread to nearby barns and communities. The present study aims to characterize the effectiveness of a percolating biofilter developed by the Research and Development Institute for the Agri-environment (IRDA) to capture airborne contaminants, such as bacteria and viruses emitted from a swine finishing room. Over a 10-month period (summer, fall, and winter), air was sampled upwind and downwind of the biofilter using two wet walled cyclonic samplers. Culture-dependent and molecular biology analyses were used to track changes in microbial concentrations and populations both captured and emitted by the percolating biofilter. Results revealed a minor reduction (median reduction efficiency 14.4%) in culturable bacteria. There was a decrease in total bacteria (qPCR) (75.0%) and other qPCR targeted organisms: archaea (42.1%), coliphages (25.6%), Enterococcus
(76.1%), and Escherichia coli
(40.9%). The community analyses showed similar bacterial diversity in the air upwind and downwind of the biofilter although more Proteobacteria
were present downwind of the unit, likely attributable to the Proteobacteria
-rich nutritive solution. Evidence is provided for bioaerosols reduction by a percolating biofilter treating air from a swine fattening-finishing room.
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