28 Jul 2023
 | 28 Jul 2023

Airborne bacteria viability and air quality: a protocol to quantitatively investigate the possible correlation by an atmospheric simulation chamber

Virginia Vernocchi, Elena Abd El, Marco Brunoldi, Silvia Giulia Danelli, Elena Gatta, Tommaso Isolabella, Federico Mazzei, Franco Parodi, Paolo Prati, and Dario Massabò

Abstract. Biological Particulate Matter or bioaerosol are a subset of atmospheric aerosol. They influence climate, air quality and health via several mechanisms which often are poorly understood. In particular, the quantitative study of possible relationship between bioaerosol viability and air quality or meteorological conditions is an open and relevant issue. The difficulty of retrieving such possible correlations by analyses of data collected during in-field campaigns, can benefit of targeted experiments conducted in well controlled conditions inside Atmospheric Simulation Chambers, ASCs. ChAMBRe (Chamber for Aerosol Modelling and Bio-aerosol Research) is an ASC in Genoa (Italy) designed and built to perform experimental research on bioaerosol. In this article we focus on bacteria viability. A multi-step protocol was developed and thoroughly tested: cultivation of a suitable bacteria population, nebulization and injection in the chamber of viable cells, exposure and monitoring of the viability variation inside ChAMBRe, hold at selected conditions, and finally incubation and counting of the concentration of viable bacteria. The whole procedure showed a reproducibility at the 20 % level when ChAMBRe is kept in a reference “baseline” condition. This figure quantifies the protocol sensitivity as well to changes in viability when bacteria are exposed in other (e.g., polluted) conditions. First results showing a viability reduction observed exposing the E. coli strain to NOX concentrations and solar irradiation are presented and discussed. Present results pave the way to systematic studies aimed at the definition of dose-effect relationship for several bacteria strain at atmospheric pollutants.

Virginia Vernocchi et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1580', Anonymous Referee #1, 24 Aug 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Federico Mazzei, 13 Sep 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1580', Pierre Amato, 24 Aug 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Federico Mazzei, 13 Sep 2023

Virginia Vernocchi et al.

Virginia Vernocchi et al.


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Short summary
Bioaerosol are airborne particles or droplets that contain living organisms or biological materials, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, pollen, or other organic matter. The study of relationship between bioaerosol viability and air quality or meteorological conditions is an open field and running experiments of the bioareosol viability in an atmospheric simulation chamber, give the possibility to setup well defined conditions to evaluate the interaction between bioaerosol and pollutants.