Jun 2021, Volume 15 Issue 3

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  • Front Cover Story (see: Jinbiao Ma, Manman Du, Can Wang, Xinwu Xie, Hao Wang, Qian Zhang,2021, 15(3): 47)
    According to the legend, the Monkey King was forged in the gossip furnace of the very high lord for forty-nine days, and he developed a pair of golden eyes, which can penetrate the truth of things and distinguish many monsters. Nowadays, human beings are facing the threat of various in [Detail] ...

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    Wenbing Tan, Dongyu Cui, Beidou Xi

    Single-use plastics are often used once or cannot be reused for extended periods. They are widely consumed with the rapid development of social economy. The waste generated by single-use plastics threatens ecosystem health by entering the environment and ultimately restricts sustainable human development. The innovation of sustainable and environmentally friendly single-use plastic alternative materials and the joint participation of governments, enterprises and the public are promising technologies and management approaches that can solve the problem of single-use plastics wastes. The development of single-use plastic alternative products can be promoted fundamentally only by improving relevant legislation and standards, providing differentiated industrial policies, encouraging scientific and technological innovation and expanding public participation.

    Jingkun Jiang, Maosheng Yao, Jungho Hwang, Can Wang
    Jianwei Liu, Peng Yue, Nana Zang, Chen Lu, Xinyue Chen

    • TSIBF was composed of ABRS, FRS and HBRS.

    • THIBF can effectively remove various odors, VOCs and bioaerosols.

    • Different reaction segments in TSIBF can remove different types of odors and VOCs.

    • TSIBF can reduce the emission of bioaerosols through enhanced interception.

    A novel three-stage integrated biofilter (TSIBF) composed of acidophilic bacteria reaction segment (ABRS), fungal reaction segment (FRS) and heterotrophic bacteria reaction segment (HBRS) was constructed for the treatment of odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs)from municipal solid waste (MSW) comprehensive treatment plants. The performance, counts of predominant microorganisms, and bioaerosol emissions of a full-scale TSIBF system were studied. High and stable removal efficiencies of hydrogen sulfide, ammonia and VOCs could be achieved with the TSIBF system, and the emissions of culturable heterotrophic bacteria, fungi and acidophilic sulfur bacteria were relatively low. The removal efficiencies of different odors and VOCs, emissions of culturable microorganisms, and types of predominant microorganisms were different in the ABRS, FRS and HBRS due to the differences in reaction conditions and mass transfer in each segment. The emissions of bioaerosols from the TSIBF depended on the capture of microorganisms and their volatilization from the packing. The rational segmentation, filling of high-density packings and the accumulation of the predominant functional microorganisms in each segment enhanced the capture effect of the bioaerosols, thus reducing the emissions of microorganisms from the bioreactor.

    Jinbiao Ma, Manman Du, Can Wang, Xinwu Xie, Hao Wang, Qian Zhang

    • Airborne microorganism detection methods are summarized.

    • Biosensors play an important role in detecting airborne microorganisms.

    • The principle of biosensor detection of airborne microorganisms is introduced.

    • The application and progress of biosensor in recent years is summarized.

    • The future perspectives of biosensor are identified.

    Humanity has been facing the threat of a variety of infectious diseases. Airborne microorganisms can cause airborne infectious diseases, which spread rapidly and extensively, causing huge losses to human society on a global scale. In recent years, the detection technology for airborne microorganisms has developed rapidly; it can be roughly divided into biochemical, immune, and molecular technologies. However, these technologies still have some shortcomings; they are time-consuming and have low sensitivity and poor stability. Most of them need to be used in the ideal environment of a laboratory, which limits their applications. A biosensor is a device that converts biological signals into detectable signals. As an interdisciplinary field, biosensors have successfully introduced a variety of technologies for bio-detection. Given their fast analysis speed, high sensitivity, good portability, strong specificity, and low cost, biosensors have been widely used in environmental monitoring, medical research, food and agricultural safety, military medicine and other fields. In recent years, the performance of biosensors has greatly improved, becoming a promising technology for airborne microorganism detection. This review introduces the detection principle of biosensors from the three aspects of component identification, energy conversion principle, and signal amplification. It also summarizes its research and application in airborne microorganism detection. The new progress and future development trend of the biosensor detection of airborne microorganisms are analyzed.

    Guanyu Jiang, Can Wang, Lu Song, Xing Wang, Yangyang Zhou, Chunnan Fei, He Liu

    • Aerosol transmission is an indispensable route of COVID-19 spread.

    • Different outbreak sites have different epidemiologic feature.

    • SRAS-CoV-2 can exist for a long time in aerosol.

    • SRAS-CoV-2 RNA can be detected in aerosol in diverse places.

    • Some environmental factors can impact SARS-CoV-2 transportation in aerosol.

    Patients with COVID-19 have revealed a massive outbreak around the world, leading to widespread concerns in global scope. Figuring out the transmission route of COVID-19 is necessary to control further spread. We analyzed the data of 43 patients in Baodi Department Store (China) to supplement the transmission route and epidemiological characteristics of COVID-19 in a cluster outbreak. Incubation median was estimated to endure 5.95 days (2–13 days). Almost 76.3% of patients sought medical attention immediately upon illness onset. The median period of illness onset to hospitalization and confirmation were 3.96 days (0–14) and 5.58 days (1–21), respectively. Patients with different cluster case could demonstrate unique epidemiological characteristics due to the particularity of outbreak sites. SRAS-CoV-2 can be released into the surrounding air through patient’s respiratory tract activities, and can exist for a long time for long-distance transportation. SRAS-CoV-2 RNA can be detected in aerosol in different sites, including isolation ward, general ward, outdoor, toilet, hallway, and crowded public area. Environmental factors influencing were analyzed and indicated that the SARS-CoV-2 transportation in aerosol was dependent on temperature, air humidity, ventilation rate and inactivating chemicals (ozone) content. As for the infection route of case numbers 2 to 6, 10, 13, 16, 17, 18, 20 and 23, we believe that aerosol transmission played a significant role in analyzing their exposure history and environmental conditions in Baodi Department Store. Aerosol transmission could occur in some cluster cases when the environmental factors are suitable, and it is an indispensable route of COVID-19 spread.

    Fan Lu, Tianyu Hu, Shunyan Wei, Liming Shao, Pinjing He

    • Aerosolization behavior during a lab-scale sludge biostabilization was determined.

    • Many pathogenic species were identified to be preferentially aerosolized.

    • Bioaerosol concentration along the biostabilization ranged from 160 to 1440 cell/m3.

    • Sludge aerosolization behavior was different with that of other biowaste.

    Biostabilization is a cost-effective method for the beneficial utilization of sewage sludge. However, during the operation of sludge biostabilization, some microbial species could be released into the atmospheric environment from the solid-phase of sludge easily and present a high risk to human health. This study aimed to evaluate the risk of bioaerosol during sludge biostabilization. We found a total of nine bacterial phyla, one archaeal phylum, and two fungal phyla in the bioaerosol samples. Among them, Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Ascomycota were the dominant phyla. In addition, the bioaerosolization indexes (BI) of prokaryotic phyla and fungal phyla ranged 0–45 and 0–487, respectively. Massilia, Pseudarthrobacter, Pseudomonas, Tremellales spp., and Fusarium were the preferentially aerosolized microbial genera with maximum bioaerosolization indexes of 19962, 10360, 1802, 3055, and 7398. The bioaerosol concentration during the biostabilization ranged from 160 to 1440 cell/m3, and we identified species such as Stenotrophomonas rhizophila and Fusarium graminerum with high bioaerosolization indexes that could be threats to human health. Euryachaeota, which belongs to archaeal phyla, had the highest biostabilization index in our study. We also found that Pseudarthrobacter was the easiest to aerosolize during the sludge biostabilization process.

    Wenwen Xie, Yanpeng Li, Wenyan Bai, Junli Hou, Tianfeng Ma, Xuelin Zeng, Liyuan Zhang, Taicheng An

    • Emission of microbe from local environments is a main source of bioaerosols.

    • Regional transport is another important source of the bioaerosols.

    • There are many factors affecting the diffusion and transport of bioaerosols.

    • Source identification method uncovers the contribution of sources of bioaerosols.

    Recent pandemic outbreak of the corona-virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has raised widespread concerns about the importance of the bioaerosols. They are atmospheric aerosol particles of biological origins, mainly including bacteria, fungi, viruses, pollen, and cell debris. Bioaerosols can exert a substantial impact on ecosystems, climate change, air quality, and public health. Here, we review several relevant topics on bioaerosols, including sampling and detection techniques, characterization, effects on health and air quality, and control methods. However, very few studies have focused on the source apportionment and transport of bioaerosols. The knowledge of the sources and transport pathways of bioaerosols is essential for a comprehensive understanding of the role microorganisms play in the atmosphere and control the spread of epidemic diseases associated with them. Therefore, this review comprehensively summarizes the up to date progress on the source characteristics, source identification, and diffusion and transport process of bioaerosols. We intercompare three types of diffusion and transport models, with a special emphasis on a widely used mathematical model. This review also highlights the main factors affecting the source emission and transport process, such as biogeographic regions, land-use types, and environmental factors. Finally, this review outlines future perspectives on bioaerosols.

    Mariana Valdez-Castillo, Sonia Arriaga

    •ZnO/Perlite inactivated 72% of bioaerosols in continuous gas phase.

    •TiO2 triggered the highest level of cytotoxicity with 95% dead cells onto Poraver.

    •Inactivation mechanism occurred by membrane damage, morphological changes and lysis.

    •ZnO/Poraver showed null inactivation of bioaerosols.

    •Catalysts losses at the outlet of the photoreactor for all systems were negligible.

    Bioaerosols are airborne microorganisms that cause infectious sickness, respiratory and chronic health issues. They have become a latent threat, particularly in indoor environment. Photocatalysis is a promising process to inactivate completely bioaerosols from air. However, in systems treating a continuous air flow, catalysts can be partially lost in the gaseous effluent. To avoid such phenomenon, supporting materials can be used to fix catalysts. In the present work, four photocatalytic systems using Perlite or Poraver glass beads impregnated with ZnO or TiO2 were tested. The inactivation mechanism of bioaerosols and the cytotoxic effect of the catalysts to bioaerosols were studied. The plug flow photocatalytic reactor treated a bioaerosol flow of 460×1 06 cells/m3air with a residence time of 5.7 s. Flow Cytometry (FC) was used to quantify and characterize bioaerosols in terms of dead, injured and live cells. The most efficient system was ZnO/Perlite with 72% inactivation of bioaerosols, maintaining such inactivation during 7.5 h due to the higher water retention capacity of Perlite (2.8 mL/gPerlite) in comparison with Poraver (1.5 mL/gPerlite). However, a global balance showed that TiO2/Poraver system triggered the highest level of cytotoxicity to bioaerosols retained on the support after 96 h with 95% of dead cells. SEM and FC analyses showed that the mechanism of inactivation with ZnO was based on membrane damage, morphological cell changes and cell lysis; whereas only membrane damage and cell lysis were involved with TiO2. Overall, results highlighted that photocatalytic technologies can completely inactivate bioaerosols in indoor environments.

    Manman Ma, Bo Zhang, Ye Chen, Wenrong Feng, Tiezhu Mi, Jianhua Qi, Wenshuai Li, Zhigang Yu, Yu Zhen

    • Light haze had little effect on bacterial communities.

    • Fog and heavy haze had significant effects on these communities.

    • Air pollution exerted a greater influence than particle size on bacterial community.

    Here, we report the characteristics of bacterial communities in aerosols with different particle sizes during two persistent fog and haze events in December of 2015 and 2016 in Qingdao, China. In the early stage of pollution, the accumulation of PM2.5 led to the accumulation of microorganisms, thus increasing the bacterial richness and diversity of fine particle sizes. With the persistence and aggravation of pollution, the toxic effect was strengthened, and the bacterial richness and diversity of each particle size decreased. When the particle concentration was highest, the richness and diversity were low for each particle size. Light haze had little influence on bacterial communities. The occurrence of highly polluted humid weather and heavy haze resulted in significant changes in bacterial community diversity, composition and structure, and air pollution exerted a greater influence than particle size on bacterial community structure. During persistent fog and haze events, with the increase of pollutants, bacteria associated with each particle size may be extensively involved in aerosol chemistry, but the degree of participation varies, which requires further study.

    Pil Uthaug Rasmussen, Katrine Uhrbrand, Mette Damkjær Bartels, Helle Neustrup, Dorina Gabriela Karottki, Ute Bültmann, Anne Mette Madsen

    • Staff members were not colonised with MRSA.

    • But staff were exposed to MRSA from air, sedimented dust and surfaces.

    • MRSA was found in the rooms of MRSA-colonised residents but not in common areas.

    • Staff worry about MRSA and spreading it to other residents, family, and acquaintances.

    • The use of protective eyewear and facemasks could be improved.

    Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is an increasing health concern across the globe and is often prevalent at long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes. However, we know little of whether nursing home staff is exposed to MRSA via air and surfaces. We investigated whether staff members at nursing homes are colonised with and exposed to culturable MRSA, and assessed staff members’ self-reported knowledge of MRSA and compliance with infection hygiene guidelines. Five nursing homes with MRSA positive residents were visited in Copenhagen, Denmark. Personal bioaerosol exposure samples and environmental samples from surfaces, sedimented dust and bioaerosols were examined for MRSA and methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) to determine occupational exposure. Swabs were taken from staffs’ nose, throat, and hands to determine whether they were colonised with MRSA. An online questionnaire about MRSA and infection control was distributed. No staff members were colonised with MRSA, but MRSA was detected in the rooms of the colonised residents in two out of the five nursing homes. MRSA was observed in air (n = 4 out of 42, ranging from 2.9–7.9 CFU/m3), sedimented dust (n = 1 out of 58, 1.1 × 103 CFU/m2/d), and on surfaces (n = 9 out of 113, 0.04–70.8 CFU/m2). The questionnaire revealed that half of the staff members worry about spreading MRSA to others. Identified aspects for improvement were improved availability and use of protective equipment, not transferring cleaning supplies (e.g., vacuum cleaners) between residents’ rooms and to reduce worry of MRSA, e.g., through education.

    Philippa Douglas, Daniela Fecht, Deborah Jarvis

    • Bioaerosol emitted from farming and composting facilities may pose health risks.

    • We describe population characteristics around these sites and infer public concern.

    • Sites were mapped and overlaid with population, demographic and school data.

    • Approximately 16% of the population and 15% of schools are located near these sites.

    • More community health studies need to be conducted around these sites.

    Bioaerosol exposure has been linked to adverse respiratory conditions. Intensive farming and composting facilities are important anthropogenic sources of bioaerosols. We aimed to characterise populations living close to intensive farming and composting facilities. We also infer whether the public are becoming more concerned about anthropogenic bioaerosol emissions, using reports of air pollution related incidents attributed to facilities. We mapped the location of 1,257 intensive farming and 310 composting facilities in England in relation to the resident population and its characteristics (sex and age), area characteristics (deprivation proxy and rural/urban classification) and school locations stratified by pre-defined distance bands from these bioaerosol sources. We also calculated the average number of air pollution related incidents per year per facility. We found that more than 16% of the population and 15% of schools are located within 4,828 m of an intensive farming facility or 4,000 m of a composting facility; few people (0.01%) live very close to these sites and tend to be older people. Close to composting facilities, populations are more likely to be urban and more deprived. The number of incidents were attributed to a small proportion of facilities; population characteristics around these facilities were similar. Results indicate that populations living near composting facilities (particularly>250 to≤4,000 m) are mostly located in urban areas (80%–88% of the population), which supports the need for more community health studies to be conducted. Results could also be used to inform risk management strategies at facilities with higher numbers of incidents.

    Min Gao, Ziye Yang, Yajie Guo, Mo Chen, Tianlei Qiu, Xingbin Sun, Xuming Wang

    •Bacterial concentrations from eight stages were 104–105copies/m3.

    •Diameter influenced clustering of bacterial and HPB lineages.

    •Dg of 8 HPB ranged from 2.42 to 5.09 μm in composting areas.

    •Dg of 8 HPB ranged from 3.70 to 8.96 μm in packaging areas.

    •HPB had high concentrations and small sizes in composting areas.

    Composting plants are regarded as one of the important sources of environmental bioaerosols. However, limitations in the size distribution of airborne bacteria have prevented our comprehensive understanding of their risk to human health and their dispersal behavior. In this study, different sizes of airborne bacteria were collected using an eight-stage impactor from a full-scale composting facility. Size-related abundance and communities of airborne bacteria as well as human pathogenic bacteria (HPB) were investigated using 16S rRNA gene sequencing coupled with droplet digital PCR. Our results indicate that the bacterial concentrations from the eight stages were approximately 104–105copies/m3. Although no statistical correlation was detected between the particle size and the Shannon index, the influence of size on bacterial lineages was observed in both composting and packaging areas. For airborne bacteria from different stages, the dominant phyla were Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, and Actinobacteria, and the dominant genera was Bacillus. Seven out of eight HPB with a small geometric mean aerodynamic diameter had a high concentration in composting areas. Based on diameters of 2.42 to 5.09 μm, most HPB in the composting areas were expected to be deposited on the bronchus and secondary bronchus. However, in the packaging areas, the deposition of HPB (diameters 3.70 to 8.96 μm) occurred in the upper part of the respiratory tract. Our results on the size distribution, abundance, and diversity of these bacteria offer important information for the systematic evaluation of bacterial pathogenicity and the potential health impacts on workers in composting plants and the surrounding residents.

    Yunping Han, Lin Li, Ying Wang, Jiawei Ma, Pengyu Li, Chao Han, Junxin Liu

    • Bioaerosols are produced in the process of wastewater biological treatment.

    • The concentration of bioaerosol indoor is higher than outdoor.

    • Bioaerosols contain large amounts of potentially pathogenic biomass and chemicals.

    • Inhalation is the main route of exposure of bioaerosol.

    • Both the workers and the surrounding residents will be affected by the bioaerosol.

    Bioaerosols are defined as airborne particles (0.05–100 mm in size) of biological origin. They are considered potentially harmful to human health as they can contain pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. This review summarizes the most recent research on the health risks of bioaerosols emitted from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in order to improve the control of such bioaerosols. The concentration and size distribution of WWTP bioaerosols; their major emission sources, composition, and health risks; and considerations for future research are discussed. The major themes and findings in the literature are as follows: the major emission sources of WWTP bioaerosols include screen rooms, sludge-dewatering rooms, and aeration tanks; the bioaerosol concentrations in screen and sludge-dewatering rooms are higher than those outdoors. WWTP bioaerosols contain a variety of potentially pathogenic bacteria, fungi, antibiotic resistance genes, viruses, endotoxins, and toxic metal(loid)s. These potentially pathogenic substances spread with the bioaerosols, thereby posing health risks to workers and residents in and around the WWTP. Inhalation has been identified as the main exposure route, and children are at a higher risk of this than adults. Future studies should identify emerging contaminants, establish health risk assessments, and develop prevention and control systems.

    Caihong Xu, Jianmin Chen, Zhikai Wang, Hui Chen, Hao Feng, Lujun Wang, Yuning Xie, Zhenzhen Wang, Xingnan Ye, Haidong Kan, Zhuohui Zhao, Abdelwahid Mellouki

    • Urban aerosols harbour diverse bacterial communities in Shanghai.

    • The functional groups were associated with nitrogen, carbon, and sulfur cycling.

    • Temperature, SO2, and wind speed were key drivers for the bacterial community.

    Airborne bacteria play key roles in terrestrial and marine ecosystems and human health, yet our understanding of bacterial communities and their response to the environmental variables lags significantly behind that of other components of PM2.5. Here, atmospheric fine particles obtained from urban and suburb Shanghai were analyzed by using the qPCR and Illumina Miseq sequencing. The bacteria with an average concentration of 2.12 × 103 cells/m3, were dominated by Sphingomonas, Curvibacter, Acinetobacter, Bradyrhizobium, Methylobacterium, Halomonas, Aliihoeflea, and Phyllobacterium, which were related to the nitrogen, carbon, sulfur cycling and human health risk. Our results provide a global survey of bacterial community across urban, suburb, and high-altitude sites. In Shanghai (China), urban PM2.5 harbour more diverse and dynamic bacterial populations than that in the suburb. The structural equation model explained about 27%, 41%, and 20%–78% of the variance found in bacteria diversity, concentration, and discrepant genera among urban and suburb sites. This work furthered the knowledge of diverse bacteria in a coastal Megacity in the Yangtze river delta and emphasized the potential impact of environmental variables on bacterial community structure.

    Zhijian Liu, Haiyang Liu, Hang Yin, Rui Rong, Guoqing Cao, Qihong Deng

    • The effectiveness of four different ventilation systems was compared in depth.

    • Airflow and bacteria-carrying particles concentration were quantitatively analyzed.

    • Vertical laminar airflow with high airflow rate could not achieve desired effect.

    • Temperature-controlled airflow ventilation could guarantee air cleanliness.

    Biological particles in the operating room (OR) air environment can cause surgical site infections (SSIs). Various ventilation systems have been employed in ORs to ensure an ultraclean environment. However, the effect of different ventilation systems on the control of bacteria-carrying particles (BCPs) released from the surgical staff during surgery is unclear. In this study, the performance of four different ventilation systems (vertical laminar airflow ventilation (VLAF), horizontal laminar airflow ventilation (HLAF), differential vertical airflow ventilation (DVAF), and temperature-controlled airflow ventilation (TAF)) used in an OR was evaluated and compared based on the spatial BCP concentration. The airflow field in the OR was solved by the Renormalization Group (RNG) k-e turbulence model, and the BCP phase was calculated by Lagrangian particle tracking (LPT) and the discrete random walk (DRW) model. It was found that the TAF system was the most effective ventilation system among the four ventilation systems for ensuring air cleanliness in the operating area. This study also indicated that air cleanliness in the operating area depended not only on the airflow rate of the ventilation system but also on the airflow distribution, which was greatly affected by obstacles such as surgical lamps and surgical staff.

    Qingyan Chen

    It is well recognized that Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus could be spread through touch and large droplets. However, we may have under-estimated the disease transmission by small droplets or aerosols that contain SARS-CoV-2 virus. Social distancing in public transport vehicles, such as airplanes, is not feasible. It is also not possible to wear masks in restaurant. This paper recommended wearing masks in airplanes and use partition screens in the middle of a table in a restaurant to reduce the infection caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus. Advanced ventilation systems, such as personalized ventilation and displacement ventilation, are strongly recommended for transport vehicles and buildings.