Archaea and Bacteria Exposure in Danish Livestock Farmers

Jakob Hjort Bønløkke, Caroline Duchaine, Vivi Schlünssen, Torben Sigsgaard, Marc Veillette, Ioannis Basinas

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Objectives Methanogenic archaea have been found to make up part of the bioaerosols in pig, cattle, and poultry farms. So far no attempts have been made to determine how season, farm type, and farm characteristics may affect workers’ exposure to archaea. Methods Personal filter samples from 327 farmers working on 89 Danish farms were analysed for the number of 16S rRNA gene copies from archaea and bacteria and for their dust and endotoxin content. The farms were visited during summer and winter. Information on farm type and stable characteristics were collected using self-reported activity diaries and walk-through surveys. Differences in archaea and bacteria levels with farm type and stable characteristics and correlations with dust and endotoxin levels were examined. Results Personal archaea exposure was documented in all farm types including, for the first time, during mink farming. At 7.3*104 gene copies m−3 the archaea levels were around two orders of magnitude lower than bacteria levels at 5.7*106 gene copies m−3. At 1.7*105 gene copies m−3 among pig farmers and 1.9*104 gene copies m−3 among cattle farmers the archaea levels differed with farm type (P < 0.0005). The archaea and bacteria levels correlated weakly with a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.17. Neither archaea nor bacteria levels differed by season. In pig farms the archaea levels differed by type of ventilation and by wetness of the floor. Conclusions Archaea levels were not neglible and appeared to vary greatly between farm types. In pig farms they varied with some farm characteristics. Archaea levels appeared to depend on factors that differed from those of bacteria.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of Work Exposures and health
Early online date28 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2019


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