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Open AccessArticle

Generation of Viable Bacterial and Fungal Aerosols during Biomass Combustion

School of Engineering, Griffith University, Nathan 4111, Australia
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Atmosphere 2020, 11(3), 313; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11030313
Received: 20 February 2020 / Revised: 6 March 2020 / Accepted: 22 March 2020 / Published: 24 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Detection and Monitoring of Bioaerosols)
Biomass combustion is known to be one of the main contributors to air pollution. However, the influence of biomass burning on the distribution of viable bacterial and fungal aerosols is uncertain. This study aimed to examine survivability of bacteria and fungi in the post-combustion products, and to investigate the aerosolization of viable cells during combustion of different types of organic materials. Laboratory experiments included a small-scale combustion of organic materials contaminated with microorganisms in order to determine the survivability of microbes in the combustion products and the potential aerosolization of viable cells during combustion. Field experiments were completed during intentional and prescribed biomass burning events in order to investigate the aerosolization mechanisms that are not available at the laboratory scale. Laboratory experiments did not demonstrate aerosolization of microorganisms during biomass combustion. However, the relatively high survival rate of bacteria in the combustion products ought to be accounted for, as the surviving microorganisms can potentially be aerosolized by high velocity natural air flows. Field investigations demonstrated significant increase in the bioaerosol concentration above natural background during and after biomass combustion. View Full-Text
Keywords: bioaerosol generation; biomass combustion; combustion bioaerosols; high temperature bioaerosols; prescribed burning bioaerosol generation; biomass combustion; combustion bioaerosols; high temperature bioaerosols; prescribed burning
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Mirskaya, E.; Agranovski, I.E. Generation of Viable Bacterial and Fungal Aerosols during Biomass Combustion. Atmosphere 2020, 11, 313.

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