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Environmental Engineering Research 2012;17(4): 211-216. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4491/eer.2012.17.4.211
Assessment of Airborne Microorganisms in a Swine Wastewater Treatment Plant
Ki-Youn Kim1, Han-Jong Ko2, and Daekeun Kim3
1Department of Industrial Health, Catholic University of Pusan, Pusan 609-757, Korea
2Division of Livestock Policy, Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, Jeju 690-700, Korea
3Department of Environmental Engineering, Seoul National University of Science and Technology, Seoul 139-743, Korea
Corresponding Author: Daekeun Kim ,Tel: +82-2-970-6606, Fax: +82-2-971-5776, Email: kimd@seoultech.ac.kr
Received: July 23, 2012;  Accepted: November 28, 2012.
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Quantification of the airborne microorganisms (bacteria and fungi) at a swine wastewater treatment plant was performed. Microbial samples were collected at three different phases of the treatment process over a 1-yr period. Cultivation methods based on the viable counts of mesophilic heterotrophic bacteria and fungi were performed. The concentrations of airborne bacteria ranged up to about 5 × 103 colony-forming unit (CFU)/m3, and those of airborne fungi ranged up to about 9 × 102 CFU/m3. The primary treatment (e.g., screen, grit removal, and primary sedimentation) was found to be the major source of airborne microorganisms at the site studied, and higher levels of airborne bacteria and fungi were observed in summer. High levels of the respirable bioaerosol (0.65 to 4.7 μm in size) were detected in the aeration phase. Among the environmental factors studied, temperature was strongly associated with fungal aerosol generation (with a Spearman correlation coefficient of 0.90 and p-value <0.01). Occupational biorisks are discussed based on the observed field data.
Keywords: Bioaerosol | Seasonal variation | Size distribution | Swine wastewater
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