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Open AccessArticle

Occupational Exposures to Organic Dust in Irish Bakeries and a Pizzeria Restaurant

1
H&TRC-Health & Technology Research Center, ESTeSL-Escola Superior de Tecnologia da Saúde, Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, 1990-096 Lisbon, Portugal
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NOVA National School of Public Health, Public Health Research Centre, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, 1600-560 Lisbon, Portugal
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Comprehensive Health Research Center (CHRC), 1150-090 Lisbon, Portugal
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School of Natural Sciences and Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland, H91 CF50 Galway, Ireland
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School of Physics and Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland, H91 CF50 Galway, Ireland
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Research Institute for Medicines (iMed.ULisboa), Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal, 1649-003 Lisbon, Portugal
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Institute of Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, 1649-028 Lisbon, Portugal
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Department of Physiology and Toxicology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Kazimierz Wielki University, Chodkiewicza 30, 85–064 Bydgoszcz, Poland
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Microorganisms 2020, 8(1), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8010118
Received: 18 December 2019 / Revised: 10 January 2020 / Accepted: 12 January 2020 / Published: 15 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Resistance: From the Environment to Human Health)
For decades, occupational exposure to flour dust has been linked to a range of respiratory diseases, including occupational asthma, thought to result from exposure to fungi present in the flour. Antifungal resistance is of increasing prevalence in clinical settings, and the role of occupational and environmental exposures, particularly for specific fungal species, is of concern. Occupational exposure to flour dust can occur in a range of occupational settings, however, few studies have focused on restaurant workers. The objective of this study was to measure occupational exposure to flour and microbial contamination, including azole resistance screening, in two small commercial bakeries and in a pizzeria. Personal full shift inhalable dust measurements were collected from workers, and were analyzed for inhalable dust and fungi, bacteria, azole resistance, and mycotoxins. Samples of settled dust were collected, and electrostatic dust cloths (EDC) were deployed and analyzed for microbial contamination, including azole resistance screening, and mycotoxins. Geometric mean exposures of 6.5 mg m³ were calculated for inhalable dust, however, exposures of up to 18.30 mg m³ were measured—70% of personal exposure measurements exceeded the occupational exposure limit for flour dust of 1.0 mg m³. The air and EDC fungal counts were similar to those reported in previous studies for similar occupational environments. The fungi were dominated by Penicillium genera, however Aspergillus genera, including Fumigati and Flavi sections, were observed using culture-based methods, and the Fumigati section was also observed by molecular tools. Both Aspergillus sections were identified on the azole resistance screening. Mycotoxins were also detected in the settled dust samples, dominated by deoxynivalenol (DON). The role of environmental exposure in both the development of antimicrobial resistance and the total mycotoxin body burden is a growing concern; therefore, the presence of azole-resistant fungi and mycotoxin contamination, although low in magnitude, is of concern and warrants further investigation.
Keywords: occupational exposure assessment; microbial contamination; Aspergillus; azole resistance screening; mycotoxins occupational exposure assessment; microbial contamination; Aspergillus; azole resistance screening; mycotoxins
MDPI and ACS Style

Viegas, C.; Fleming, G.T.A.; Kadir, A.; Almeida, B.; Caetano, L.A.; Quintal Gomes, A.; Twarużek, M.; Kosicki, R.; Viegas, S.; Coggins, A.M. Occupational Exposures to Organic Dust in Irish Bakeries and a Pizzeria Restaurant. Microorganisms 2020, 8, 118.

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