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Issue 5, 2005
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Large particles are responsible for elevated bacterial marker levels in school air upon occupation

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Abstract

Muramic acid (Mur) is found in bacterial peptidoglycan (PG) whereas 3-hydroxy fatty acids (3-OH FAs) are found in Gram-negative bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Thus Mur and 3-OH FAs serve as markers to assess bacterial levels in indoor air. An initial survey, in a school, demonstrated that the levels of dust, PG and LPS (pmol m−3) were each much higher in occupied rooms than in the same rooms when unoccupied. In each instance, the Mur content of dust was increased and the hydroxy fatty acid distribution changed similarly suggesting an alteration in the bacterial population. Here, findings are compared with results from two additional schools. Follow-up aerosol monitoring by particle size was also performed for the first time for all 3 schools. The particle size distribution was shown to be quite different in occupied versus unoccupied schoolrooms. Within individual classrooms, concentrations of airborne particles ≥0.8 µm in diameter, and CO2 were correlated. This suggests that the increased levels of larger particles are responsible for elevation of bacterial markers during occupation. Release of culturable and non-culturable bacteria or bacterial aggregates from children (e.g. from flaking skin) might explain this phenomenon.

Graphical abstract: Large particles are responsible for elevated bacterial marker levels in school air upon occupation

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Publication details

The article was received on 01 Dec 2004, accepted on 10 Mar 2005 and first published on 29 Mar 2005


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B418038K
Citation: J. Environ. Monit., 2005,7, 450-456
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    Large particles are responsible for elevated bacterial marker levels in school air upon occupation

    A. Fox, W. Harley, C. Feigley, D. Salzberg, C. Toole, A. Sebastian and L. Larsson, J. Environ. Monit., 2005, 7, 450
    DOI: 10.1039/B418038K

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