The composting procedure in food waste plants generates airborne bioaerosols that have the potential to damage human airway epithelial cells. Persistent inflammation and repair responses induce airway remodeling and damage to the respiratory system. This study elucidated the expression changes of airway remodeling genes in human lung mucoepidermoid NCI-H292 cells exposed to bioaerosols from a composting plant. Different types of microorganisms were detectable in the composting plant, using the agar culture method. Real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to quantify the level of Aspergillus fumigatus and the profile of remodeling genes. The real-time PCR results indicated that the amount of A. fumigatus in the composting hall was less than 102 conidia. The endotoxins in the field bioaerosols were determined using a limulus amebocyte lysate test. The endotoxin levels depended on the type of particulate matter (PM), with coarse particles (2.5-10 ?m) having higher endotoxin levels than did fine particles (0.5-2.5 ?m). After exposure to the conditioned medium of field bioaerosol samples, NCI-H292 cells showed increased pro-inflammatory interleukin (IL)-6 release and activated epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), transforming growth factor (TGF)-?1 and cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1 (p21WAF1/CIP1) gene expression, but not of matrix metallopeptidase (MMP)-9. Airborne endotoxin levels were higher inside the composting hall than they were in other areas, and they were associated with PM. This suggested that airborne bioaerosols in the composting plant contained endotoxins and microorganisms besides A. fumigatus that cause the inflammatory cytokine secretion and augment the expression of remodeling genes in NCI-H292 cells. It is thus necessary to monitor potentially hazardous materials from bioaerosols in food composting plants, which could affect the health of workers.
The microorganism emissions from aeration in the wastewater treatment process may adversely affect air quality and human health. To control the liquid-to-air transport of microorganisms, commercially available balls were used and their control efficiencies were evaluated by a lab-scale aeration system. Escherichia coli as the test agent were aerosolized by the aeration system and size-fractionated E. coli-containing aerosol samples were collected by using an Andersen six-stage impactor with eosin methylene blue agar for subsequent culturing and enumeration of colonies. Aerosol samples were obtained without any control measure and with balls of four diameters (1.9, 2.9, 3.4 and 4.8 cm) in one, three and five layers covering the bubbling liquid surface. Experimental results showed that the control efficiencies of balls on bacterial aerosols varied from over 50% to nearly 100% under various control settings and substantially increased as the ball size decreased and the number of applied layers increased.
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