BY: K. Sai Manogna (MSIWM014)

Bioaerosols are airborne particles created by biological materials and generate a great deal of energy to distinguish the small particles from the larger particles. Based on their sizes, bioaerosols are graded and often range in diameter from 0.02-100µm. The name of these bioaerosols is given to microorganisms distributed in the atmosphere by the transport and deposition process followed by the launch process.


Launching is the process in which the particles filled by microbes are suspended in the earth’s atmosphere. It is achieved predominantly by aquatic and terrestrial sources. For example, the sneeze exposes the atmosphere to bioaerosols. 

Three considerations are included in this process: 

(a) Air turbulence caused by the human, animal, and machine movement; 

(b) The production, storage, processing, and disposal of waste materials; 

(c) natural mechanical processes, such as the movement of water and wind on solid or liquid surfaces that are contaminated; and 

(d) As a result of regular fungal life cycles, the production of fungal spores. Any other examples may be a passing aircraft releasing a biological warfare agent or a passenger jet releasing unburnt carbon particles’ source as an instantaneous linear source. 

Conveyance of bioaerosols: 

Transport or dispersion is the mechanism by which a viable particle travels at wind speed from one point to another or when it is released by force into the air. The airborne particle’s force depends on its kinetic energy derived from the force at which it is launched into the atmosphere and the speed of the wind. Bio-aerosol transport can be described in terms of time and distance. Inside buildings or other enclosed spaces, this method of transport is standard. 

Deposition of Bio Aerosols: 

The deposition is the last pathway involving the distribution of bioaerosols in the atmosphere. It is then split into the other three forms. 

1. Settling Gravity 

2. Effect on the Surface 

3. Deposition of Rain 

Settling Gravity: 

The action of gravity on particles is the primary mechanism associated with deposition. Strength works more intensely on the particles than air, dragging them down. Larger particles would have higher speeds and settle more rapidly down the aero microbiology pathways However it should be noted that gravitational deposition may be negligible for particles of microbiological interest exposed to winds above 8103 m/hr. 

Impacting the surface: 

It is the mechanism in which the particles of bioaerosols have contact with surfaces such as leaves, trees, walls, with the effect of kinetic energy loss. The potential for impact allows a particle to collide with the surface and encourages its binding to it. However, after a collision, depending on the nature of a particle’s surface, it will bounce. 

Bouncing off a surface allows the particle at a lower rate to re-enter the air current, which can have one of two effects: 

1. It allows for subsequent molecular downward diffusion and gravitational settling, resulting in deposition on or on another nearby surface. 

2. It will cause the particle to escape from the surface and re-enter the air current once more. 

Deposition of Rain: 

The deposition also impacts rainfall and electrostatic charges. It occurs as the condensation reaction between two particles, which combine and produce a massive mass bioaerosol, making it settle faster. The overall efficiency of the deposition of rain also depends on the particle plume’s distribution area. Massive, more diffuse plumes have a substantial impact than smaller, more diffuse plumes. The rainfall rate also influences rain deposition. On the other hand, electrostatic deposition still operates the same way, condenses bioaerosols, but is based on electrovalent particles’ attraction. Both particles appear to have an associated charge of some kind. Usually, microorganisms have an overall negative charge at neutral pH associated with their surfaces. Such negatively charged particles may interact with other airborne particles of positively charged, leading to electrostatic condensation.

Mechanisms for Laboratory Regulation of Bioaerosols: 

Two such indoor conditions are hospitals and microbiology laboratories that fall under intramural aero microbiology, with probably the highest potential for pathogenic microbe aerosolization. The centers for the care of immense numbers of patients with a range of diseases are hospitals. It accounts for a high percentage of individuals being the active carriers of several contagious airborne pathogens or microorganisms, including workers and patient visitors. In this respect, microbiological laboratories are just as important as they also serve as a breeding ground for pathogenic species. 

Physical Bioaerosol Removal through filtration: 

Technologies that tackle the bioaerosol threat fall into two categories: 

(1) capture or physical elimination from the air stream of bioaerosols, and 

(2) inactivation on-line or airborne. 

Technologies that make up the former group have typically not been established explicitly for bioaerosols but aerosols’ general regulation. In the latter case, to make airborne microbes non-infectious and exclusively target bioaerosols, technologies apply external stress such as heat or ultraviolet light. Since bioaerosols are physically identical to non-biological particles of the same aerodynamic size and composition, it is possible to apply standard aerosol control devices (air filters, electrostatic precipitators. that physically extract particles from the airstream for bioaerosol control. Filtration is the most successful method for particle removal, both viable and nonviable. For example, high-performance particulate air (HEPA) filters have a 99.97 percent removal efficiency of 0.3-μm sized particles by definition. 

Mechanically, filters extract particles by integrating four simple filtration components. 

Mechanisms: inertial effect, gravitational settling, interception, and diffusion. Impact occurs with larger aerosols that do not adjust to changes in a flow streamline induced by a collector (fiber, granule.) due to their inertia. Gravity, especially when the flow velocity is insufficient, may also cause larger particles to contact a collector. For particles in the submicrometric scale, the two dominant mechanical collection mechanisms are diffusion and interception. As they deviate from a flow streamline by Brownian motion, aerosols are collected by diffusion and eventually deposited on a collector. Aerosols follow a streamline during interception and contact a collector when the streamline distance from the collector is equal to the particle’s radius. 

Disinfection by Air Filter: 

Due to the risks associated with bioaerosols sustained viability, many technologies for disinfecting filter media have been developed. These include photocatalytic oxidation (PCO), UV illumination, and other technologies, as well as anti-microbial filters. A brief overview of several unique technologies for filter disinfection are described below:  

UV light: Irradiation with UV light of bioaerosols (without the presence of UV light, photocatalyst) may cause inactivation. This procedure, known as ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI), creates thymine dimmers in DNA and inhibits replicating the targeted microbe. 

Anti-microbial filters: Bioaerosols have also been tested against air filters, which have been treated with biocidal chemicals such as iodine. For iodine treated filters, inactivation is hypothesized through the penetration of iodine molecules through the cell wall of microbe and subsequent damage to the capsid protein. In addition to killing microbes obtained from the filter, it is speculated that microbes passing through the filter can be inactivated by iodine species, leading to a decrease in viable bioaerosols’ penetration. A benefit of anti-microbial filters is that additional equipment (e.g., UV light) is not required and can therefore be readily integrated into respirators. 

Technologies for Airborne-Inactivation: 

Besides the physical elimination by filtration of bioaerosols from an airstream, air 

With airborne-inactivation technologies, it can be disinfected. Technologies may be mounted in an on-line system, e.g., ventilation and cooling of heating systems) 

System) to process air that is polluted. Descriptions of several airborne-inactivation technologies are given below: 

UVGI: UVGI lamps may be placed before or after an air filter by direct irradiation of the suspended microbes to minimize the amount of penetrating infectious bioaerosols. The implementation of UVGI is relatively complicated because several factors must be taken into account in the engineering design: airflow patterns, residence time (dose) of the microbe, relative humidity, different resistance of bioaerosols to UV light, ray-tracing optics, power consumption, lamp dust, shielding effect of the material surrounding the bioaerosol, and ozone production from UV lamps. 

Microwave irradiation: By direct irradiation, bioaerosols may be inactivated. Microwave radiation at a frequency of 2.45-GHz decreases the concentration of laboratory-generated and atmospheric bioaerosols. Electron microscopy of irradiated cells revealed that cell death could be responsible for structural damage. 

Cold plasma: Inactivation of plasma has been used in surface disinfection and disinfection. 

Sterilization, however, on-line bioaerosol inactivation has recently been implemented. 

Dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) – a non-thermal technique that uses electrical discharge between electrodes separated by a dielectric material – can generate plasma for disinfection purposes. DNA and cell membrane damage likely cause microbe death. 

Toxic vapours: It has been shown that chemicals such as chlorine dioxide (ClO2) reduce the concentration of culturable airborne bacteria and fungi effectively and thus decontaminate buildings. ClO2 is an oxidizing agent suspected of causing microbes’ death through membrane damage or protein synthesis destruction. Unlike the systems discussed above, due to the vapor’s toxicity, harmful vapours cannot be incorporated in an on-line environment and cannot be used with human occupants. 

Ultra-high temperature (UHT) treatment: UHT methods have historically been used to sterilize or disinfect liquids (e.g., milk) in order to destroy resistant bacterial spores (applying temperatures of > 125 °C for several seconds). However, recent studies have shown their effectiveness against bioaerosols. Airflow was heated to temperatures greater than 1,000 °C for less than a second for inactivation in UHT bioaerosol tests. 

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