Next Article in Journal
Potential Impacts of Land Cover Change on the Interannual Variability of Rainfall and Surface Temperature over West Africa
Next Article in Special Issue
A Controlled Study on the Characterisation of Bioaerosols Emissions from Compost
Previous Article in Journal
Long-Range Transport of Water Channelized through the Southern Subtropical Jet
Previous Article in Special Issue
Exposure to Outdoor Particles (PM2.5) and Associated Child Morbidity and Mortality in Socially Deprived Neighborhoods of Nairobi, Kenya
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessReview
Atmosphere 2018, 9(10), 375;

Sources of Airborne Endotoxins in Ambient Air and Exposure of Nearby Communities—A Review

School of Engineering and Innovation, Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK
School of Water, Energy and Environment, Cranfield University, Milton Keynes M43 0AL, UK
Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, Plymouth University, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK
Air Quality Management Resource Centre, Faculty of Environment and Technology, University of the West of England, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK
Biosafety, Air and Water Microbiology Group, Public Health England, Porton Down SP4 0JG, UK
Environment Agency, Environment and Business Directorate, Deanery Road, Bristol BS1 5AH, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 July 2018 / Revised: 18 September 2018 / Accepted: 19 September 2018 / Published: 26 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Air Pollution on Human Health)
Full-Text   |   PDF [671 KB, uploaded 26 September 2018]   |  


Endotoxin is a bioaerosol component that is known to cause respiratory effects in exposed populations. To date, most research focused on occupational exposure, whilst much less is known about the impact of emissions from industrial operations on downwind endotoxin concentrations. A review of the literature was undertaken, identifying studies that reported endotoxin concentrations in both ambient environments and around sources with high endotoxin emissions. Ambient endotoxin concentrations in both rural and urban areas are generally below 10 endotoxin units (EU) m−3; however, around significant sources such as compost facilities, farms, and wastewater treatment plants, endotoxin concentrations regularly exceeded 100 EU m−3. However, this is affected by a range of factors including sampling approach, equipment, and duration. Reported downwind measurements of endotoxin demonstrate that endotoxin concentrations can remain above upwind concentrations. The evaluation of reported data is complicated due to a wide range of different parameters including sampling approaches, temperature, and site activity, demonstrating the need for a standardised methodology and improved guidance. Thorough characterisation of ambient endotoxin levels and modelling of endotoxin from pollution sources is needed to help inform future policy and support a robust health-based risk assessment process. View Full-Text
Keywords: bioaerosol; endotoxin; composting facilities; intensive farming; air pollution bioaerosol; endotoxin; composting facilities; intensive farming; air pollution

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Rolph, C.A.; Gwyther, C.L.; Tyrrel, S.F.; Nasir, Z.A.; Drew, G.H.; Jackson, S.K.; Khera, S.; Hayes, E.T.; Williams, B.; Bennett, A.; Collins, S.; Walsh, K.; Kinnersley, R.; Gladding, T.L. Sources of Airborne Endotoxins in Ambient Air and Exposure of Nearby Communities—A Review. Atmosphere 2018, 9, 375.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Atmosphere EISSN 2073-4433 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top