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Bioaerosol Concentrations and Size Distributions during the Autumn and Winter Seasons in an Industrial City of Central China

Category: Bioaerosols

Volume: 19 | Issue: 5 | Pages: 1095-1104
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2018.11.0422

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Ting Liu1, L.-W. Antony Chen 2, Mi Zhang3, John G. Watson3, Judith C. Chow3, Junji Cao4, Hongyu Chen1, Wei Wang1, Jiaquan Zhang1, Changlin Zhan1, Hongxia Liu1, Jingru Zheng1, Naiwen Chen5, Ruizhen Yao1, Wensheng Xiao1

  • 1 School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Hubei Key Laboratory of Mine Environmental Pollution Control and Remediation, Hubei Polytechnic University, Huangshi 435003, China
  • 2 Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public Health, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV 89154, USA
  • 3 Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV 89512, USA
  • 4 Key Laboratory of Aerosol Chemistry & Physics (KLACP), Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi’an 710061, China
  • 5 School of Energy and Environment, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong 999077, China


  • Bioaerosol numbers and size distributions were first quantified for Huangshi, China.
  • Bioaerosol number concentrations were higher than other cities in northern China.
  • Bioaerosol number concentrations were dominated by submicron particles.
  • Bioaerosol mass fractions were estimated at 2.4 ± 1.9% in PM2.5 and 4.8 ± 3.2% in PM10.
  • Higher bioaerosol concentrations were observed in winter and on polluted days.


The ambient bioaerosols were measured in PM2.5 and PM10 samples taken in Huangshi City, Hubei Province, China, during autumn and winter from November 2017 to February 2018. Both the bioaerosol number concentration and size distribution (0.37–16 µm) were obtained by direct fluorescent staining coupled with microscopic imaging. The bioaerosol number concentrations ranged from 0.05 to 3.4 # cm–3 for PM2.5 and from 0.17 to 5.7 # cm–3 for PM10, with averages of 0.90 # cm–3 and 1.9 # cm–3, respectively. In terms of particle number, the bioaerosols were dominated by fine particles (0.37–2.5 µm in diameter), with a larger proportion of submicron than supermicron particles. Assuming a unit density of 1 g cm–3 and a spherical shape for the particles, the mass abundances of the bioaerosols were estimated to be 2.4 ± 1.9% and 4.8 ± 3.2% of the PM2.5 and PM10, respectively, as measured by a nearby compliance monitor. Higher bioaerosol concentrations were observed in winter than autumn and on polluted than non-polluted days. During heavily polluted conditions, bioaerosols in the PM2.5 and PM10 were enriched by 6 and 3.7 times, respectively, compared to non-polluted days and contributed up to 15% of the PM10 mass. Rainfall and snowfall appeared to lower the bioaerosol levels. As enhanced emission controls on combustion and dust sources decrease PM levels in China, the bioaerosol fraction in measured PM concentrations will likely increase.


Primary biological aerosol particles (PBAP) PM2.5 PM10 Size distribution Air quality Fluorescence microscopy

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