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Szulc, J; Okrasa, M; Majchrzycka, K; Sulyok, M; Nowak, A; Ruman, T; Niziol, J; Szponar, B; Gutarowska, B.
(2021): Microbiological and Toxicological Hazards in Sewage Treatment Plant Bioaerosol and Dust
TOXINS. 2021; 13(10), 691 FullText FullText_BOKU

Despite the awareness that work in the sewage treatment plant is associated with biological hazards, they have not been fully recognised so far. The research aims to comprehensively evaluate microbiological and toxicological hazards in the air and settled dust in workstations in a sewage treatment plant. The number of microorganisms in the air and settled dust was determined using the culture method and the diversity was evaluated using high-throughput sequencing. Endotoxin concentration was assessed with GC-MS (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) while secondary metabolites with LC-MS/MS (liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry). Moreover, cytotoxicity of settled dust against a human lung epithelial lung cell line was determined with the MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) assay and UHPLC-Q-ToF-UHRMS (ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight ultrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry) analysis was performed to determine the source of cytotoxicity. The total dust concentration in the sewage treatment plant was low and ranged from 0.030 mg m(-3) to 0.044 mg m(-3). The highest microbiological contamination was observed in sludge thickening building and screenings storage. Three secondary metabolites were detected in the air and sixteen in the settled dust. They were dominated by compounds typical of lichen and plants and Aspergillus, Penicillium and Fusarium genera mould. The settled dust from the sludge thickening building revealed high cytotoxicity to human lung epithelial cells A-549 (IC50 = 6.98 after 72 h). This effect can be attributed to a biocidal compound-didecyldimethylammonium chloride (DDAC-C10) and seven toxic compounds: 4-hydroxynonenal, carbofuran, cerulenin, diethylphosphate, fenpropimorph, naphthalene and onchidal. The presence of DDAC-C10 and other biocidal substances in the sewage treatment plant environment may bring negative results for biological sewage treatment and the natural environment in the future and contribute to microorganisms' increasing antibiotics resistance. Therefore, the concentration of antibiotics, pesticides and disinfectants in sewage treatment plant workstations should be monitored.

Authors BOKU Wien:
Sulyok Michael
BOKU Gendermonitor:

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
harmful biological agents
metagenome analysis
sewage treatment plant

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