Justyna Szulc 1, Małgorzata Okrasa2, Katarzyna Dybka-Stępień3, Michael Sulyok4, Adriana Nowak1, Anna Otlewska3, Bogumiła Szponar5, Katarzyna Majchrzycka2

Department of Environmental Biotechnology, Lodz University of Technology, Łódź 90-924, Poland
Department of Personal Protective Equipment, Central Institute for Labour Protection—National Research Institute, Łódź 90-133, Poland
Institute of Fermentation Technology and Microbiology, Lodz University of Technology, Łódź 90-924, Poland
Center for Analytical Chemistry, Department of Agrobiotechnology University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Tulln A-3430, Austria, Austria
Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wrocław 53-113, Poland

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2019.12.0641 

Cite this article:

Szulc, J., Okrasa, M., Dybka-Stępień, K., Sulyok, M., Nowak, A., Otlewska, A., Szponar, B. and Majchrzycka, K. (2020). Assessment of Microbiological Indoor Air Quality in Cattle Breeding Farms. Aerosol Air Qual. Res., https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2019.12.0641


  • First time high-throughput sequencing for agricultural bioaerosol analysis was used.
  • Extensive microorganism diversity of the air and dust from barns was presented.
  • Microorganisms that may affect human and cattle health were indicated.
  • Endotoxins, mycotoxins, phytoestrogens and antibiotics exposure has been shown.
  • Complex microbiological threats in cattle farms were proven.


The aim of the study was to assess microbiological threats in cattle breeding premises, including determining the number and types of microorganisms (culture method and high-throughput sequencing), assessing endotoxin concentration (gas chromatography – mass spectrometry; GC-MS) and analysing secondary metabolites (including mycotoxins) in the air and sedimented dust (liquid chromatography tandem-mass spectrometry; LC-MS/MS). In addition, the dust cytotoxicity was tested on the human epithelial lung cell line with MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay). The total dust concentration in utility rooms ranged from 0.175 mg m-3 to 0.351 mg m-3, while the dominant fraction (67.4 - 96.4%) had an aerodynamic diameter < 1 µm. The number of bacteria range between 7.14×103 and 3.88×104 CFU m-3, while the number of fungi ranged between 5.53×101 and 1.30×104 CFU m-3. The relation between the microorganisms number in the air and settled dust was linear with R2 ranging between 0.8349 and 0.9471. We found 172 and 210 bacterial/archaeal and 89 and 43 fungal genera in the dust and in the air, respectively. Endotoxin concentrations in the dust was 98.98 - 178.31 nmol LPS mg-1. Cytotoxicity of the dust samples ranged from 5.66 to 13.99 mg mL-1. High-throughput sequencing analysis showed extensive microorganism biodiversity, hitherto not described in literature for cattle farms. Within those identified, species from the genera: Bacteroides, Corynebacterium, Staphylococcus, Ruminococcus, Aspergillus and Cladosporium may affect human and cattle health.113 chemical compounds were detected in the dust including metabolites characteristic for moulds; bacterial metabolites and phytoestrogens and antibiotics. Future studies should focuse on epidemiological studies related to the farmers exposure to detected harmful agents.

Keywords: Cattle breeding; Bioaerosol; Metagenome analysis; Mycotoxins; Cytotoxicity.

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