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Spatial variations in airborne microorganism and endotoxin concentrations at green waste composting facilities

Pollard, S. J.T.; Pankhurst, L. J.; Deacon, L. J.; Hayes, Enda T; Liu, J.; Drew, G. H.; Longhurst, James; Jackson, S.; Longhurst, P. J.; Tyrrel, S. F.


S. J.T. Pollard

L. J. Pankhurst

L. J. Deacon

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Enda Hayes
Professor in Air Quality and Carbon Management

J. Liu

G. H. Drew

S. Jackson

P. J. Longhurst

S. F. Tyrrel


The emission and dispersal of bioaerosols from open-air commercial composting facilities continues to be contentious. A meta-dataset enumerating cultivable microorganism emission and downwind concentrations is not yet available. A dataset derived from repeated and replicated field studies over a period of two years at two commercial composting facilities is presented. The data characterises patterns in Aspergillus fumigatus, actinomycetes, Gram-negative bacteria and endotoxin emission and downwind concentrations. For all bioaerosols, compost agitation activities had a significant impact on concentrations; levels were variable up to 600. m downwind from site. Bioaerosols declined rapidly from source and exhibited a secondary peak 100-150. m from site boundary. All bioaerosols were found downwind from site in elevated concentrations. Compared to those found 100. m upwind, levels were significantly higher at 180. m downwind for A. fumigatus; at 300-400. m for actinomycetes and Gram negative bacteria, and at 100. m for endotoxins. Periodically, elevated concentrations could be found for all bioaerosols at distances further downwind. The evidence provided by this data set provides operators and regulators of facilities with reliable data to inform the location, risk assessment and bioaerosol sampling strategies of commercial composting facilities. © 2011 Elsevier GmbH.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Sep 1, 2011
Journal International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health
Print ISSN 1438-4639
Electronic ISSN 1618-131X
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 214
Issue 5
Pages 376-383
APA6 Citation Pollard, S. J., Longhurst, J. W., Hayes, E. T., Pankhurst, L. J., Deacon, L. J., Liu, J., …Tyrrel, S. F. (2011). Spatial variations in airborne microorganism and endotoxin concentrations at green waste composting facilities. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, 214(5), 376-383.
Keywords composting, aspergillus fumigatus, endotoxins, gram-negative bacteria, actinomycetes, green waste
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