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J Anim Sci. 2011 Oct;89(10):3300-9. doi: 10.2527/jas.2011-4002. Epub 2011 May 6.

Concentrations of airborne endotoxin and microorganisms at a 10,000-cow open-freestall dairy.

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Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research Laboratory, ARS, USDA, Kimberly, ID 83341, USA.


Confined animal production systems produce increased bioaerosol concentrations, which are a potential respiratory health risk to individuals on site and downwind. In this longitudinal study, airborne endotoxin and microorganisms were collected during the spring, summer, and fall at a large, open-freestall dairy in southern Idaho. Compared with the background ambient atmosphere, both endotoxin and culturable heterotrophic bacteria concentrations were up to several-hundred-fold greater 50 m downwind from the facility, then decreased to near background concentrations at 200 m. However, downwind fungi concentrations were not increased above background concentrations. At 50 m downwind, the average inhalable endotoxin concentration ranged from 5 to 4,243 endotoxin units per m⁻³, whereas bacteria concentrations ranged from 10² to 10⁴ cfu per m⁻³ of air. Although the bioaerosol concentrations did not follow a seasonal trend, they did significantly correlate with meteorological factors. Increasing temperature was found to be positively correlated with increasing bacteria (r = 0.15, P < 0.05), fungi (r = 0.14, P < 0.05), and inhalable endotoxin (r = 0.32, P < 0.001) concentrations, whereas an inverse relationship occurred between the concentration and solar radiation. The airborne concentrations at 50 m were also found to be greatest at night, which can likely be attributed to changes in animal activity and wind speed and reduced exposure of the airborne microorganisms to UV radiation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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