Exposure of workers to airborne microorganisms in open-air swine houses

Applied and Environmental Microbiology
C W ChangH J Su


This study quantified the levels of airborne microorganisms in six swine farms with more than 10,000 pigs in subtropical Taiwan. We evaluated breeding, growing, and finishing stalls, which were primarily open-air buildings, as well as partially enclosed farrowing and nursery piggeries. Airborne culturable bacteria, gram-negative bacteria, and fungi were placed on appropriate media by using an all-glass impinger or single-stage Andersen microbial sampler. Results showed that mean concentrations of culturable bacteria and gram-negative bacteria were 3.3 x 10(5) and 143.7 CFU/m(3), respectively. The concentration of airborne culturable fungi was about 10(3) CFU/m(3), with Cladosporium the predominant genus. The highest airborne levels of culturable bacteria and gram-negative bacteria were identified in the finishing units. The air of the nursery stalls was the least contaminated with culturable and gram-negative bacteria. Irregular and infrequent cleaning, high pig density, no separation of wastes from pen floors, and accumulation of water as a result of the processes for cleaning and reducing pig temperature possibly compromise the benefits of the open characteristic of the finishing units with respect to airborne bacterial conce...Continue Reading


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