Agata Stobnicka, Rafał Górny, Małgorzata Gołofit-Szymczak, Marcin Cyprowski, Anna Ławniczek-Wałczyk
Centralny Instytut Ochrony Pracy – Państwowy Instytut Badaw-czy

Light passenger aircrafts, also known as „air taxis”, are a fast and comfortable way of transport, which becomes more and more popular nowadays. However, there is a lack of publications regarding harmful biological agents in the cabin air of light passenger aircrafts. The aim of the study was a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of microbial contamination of cabin air in eight light passenger aircrafts with open cabin type and two helicopters. The bioaerosol sampling was carried out with a stationary, volumetric method using MAS-100 NT impactor. The concentration of microorganisms was expressed as CFU/m3.The highest concentration of bacteria was detected in the helicopter Robinson R44 Raven 2 I (175 CFU/m3), while the highest concentration of fungi was detected in the plane model TB9 Socata Tampico (385 CFU/m3). Kruskal-Wallis test did not show any statistically significant difference in the concentration of microorganisms in the air between the tested aircrafts, and between them and the outside background.The predominant groups of microorganisms in bioaerosols were fungi and Gram-positive cocci, which constituted 31.1-83.0% and 5.6-62.2% of the total microbiota, respectively. Sixteen species of bacteria belonging to the 8 types and 14 species of fungi belonging to 13 genera were identified in the samples.The qualitative analysis showed the presence of bacterial and fungal saprophytic strains belonging to the 1. risk group, and species belonging to the 2. risk group (Bacillus subtilis, Streptomyces spp.). Taking into account the influence of temperature and relative humidity on the concentration of bacteria and fungi in the air, it was observed that the higher temperature determined the higher concentration of bacteria, but there was no such relationship concerning fungi. Relative humidity did not significantly determine the concentration of bioaerosols.Our results indicate that the concentrations of bacteria and fungi in the cabin air were very low. However, even such an environment cannot be considered as free from pathogens. As shown by the results, the bioaerosols in the cabin air of light passenger aircrafts may contain potentially pathogenic bacteria and fungi belonging to the 2. risk group. However, bioaerosols may contain potentially pathogenic bacteria and fungi belonging to the 2. risk group. Direct contact with the afore-mentioned microorganisms, especially in the case of people with weakened immunity systems, can cause adverse health effects, as well as allergic reactions.

Słowa kluczowe
lekkie samoloty pasażerskie, zanieczyszczenie powietrza, bakterie, grzyby, bioaerozol

Microbial Agents on Board of Light Passenger Aircrafts

Key words 
light passenger aircrafts, air contamination, bacteria, fungi, bioaerosol

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