Fungal bioaerosols in biomethanization facilities.

Fungal bioaerosols in biomethanization facilities.

J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2018 Jun 25;:

Authors: Mbareche H, Veillette M, Dubuis MÈ, Bakhiyi B, Marchand G, Zayed J, Lavoie J, Bilodeau GJ, Duchaine C

Biomethanization is a new technology used for green-waste valorization where organic waste is biodegraded by microbial communities under anaerobic conditions. The main product of this type of anaerobic digestion is a biogas used as an energy source. Moving and handling organic waste may lead to the emission of high concentrations of bioaerosols. High exposure levels are associated with adverse health effects amongst green environment workers. Fungal spores are suspected to play a role in many respiratory illnesses. There is a paucity of information related to the detailed fungal diversity in biomethanisation facilities. The aim of this study was to provide an in-depth description of fungal bioaerosols in biomethanization work environments using a next generation sequencing approach combined with real-time PCR. Two biomethanization facilities treating different wastes were visited during the sampling campaign (n = 16). Quantification of Penicillium/Aspergillus and Aspergillus fumigatus revealed a greater exposure risk during summer for both facilities visited. Concentrations of Penicillium and Aspergillus were similar in all work areas in both biomethanization facilities. Taxonomy analyses showed that the type of waste treated affects the fungal diversity of aerosols emitted. Although eight classes were evenly distributed in all samples, Eurotiomycetes were more dominant in the first facility, Agaricomycetes were dominant in the second one. A large diversity profile was observed in bioaerosols from both facilities showing the presence of pathogenic fungi. The following fungi detected are known allergens and/or are opportunistic pathogens: Aspergillus, Malassezia, Emericella, Fusarium, Acremonium and Candida. Daily exposure to these fungi may put workers at risk. The information from this study can be used as a reference for minimizing occupational exposure in future biomethanization facilities.

PMID: 29939829 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Source: Industry