University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) - Research portal

Logo BOKU Resarch Portal

Selected Publication:

Szulc, J; Okrasa, M; Majchrzycka, K; Sulyok, M; Nowak, A; Szponar, B; Gorczynska, A; Ryngajllo, M; Gutarowska, B.
(2022): Microbiological and toxicological hazard assessment in a waste sorting plant and proper respiratory protection
J ENVIRON MANAGE. 2022; 303, 114257 FullText FullText_BOKU

Even though biological hazards in the work environments related to waste management were the subject of many scientific works, the knowledge of the topic is not extensive. This study aimed to conduct a comprehensive assessment of microbiological and toxicological hazards at the workstations in a waste sorting plant and develop guidelines for selecting filtering respiratory protective devices that would consider specific workplace conditions. The research included the assessment of quantity (culture method), diversity (high-throughput sequencing), and metabolites (endotoxin - gas chromatography-mass spectrometry; secondary metabolites - liquid chromatography tandem-mass spectrometry) of microorganisms occurring in the air and settled dust. Moreover, cytotoxicity of settled dust against a human epithelial lung cell line was determined with an MTT (3-(4,5dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) assay. The research was performed in a waste sorting plant (Poland; 240,000 tons waste/year) at six workstations: two feeders, two pre-sorting cabins, secondary raw material press and organic fraction waste feeder for composting. The total dust concentration at tested workstations varied from 0.128 mg m(-3) to 5.443 mg m(-3). The number of microorganisms was between 9.23 x 10(4) CFU m(-3) and 1.38 x 10(5) CFU m(-3) for bacteria and between 1.43 x 10(5) CFU m(-3) and 1.65 x 10(5) CFU m 3 for fungi, which suggests high microbial contamination of the sorting facility. The numbers of microorganisms in the air correlated very strongly (R2 from 0.70 to 0.94) with those observed in settled dust. Microorganisms representing Group 2 biological agents (acc. to Directive, 2000/54/EC), including Corynebacterium spp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and others potentially hazardous to human health, were identified. The endotoxins concentration in settled dust ranged from 0.013 nmol LPS mg 1 to 0.048 nmol LPS mg(-1). Seventeen (air) and 91 (settled dust) secondary metabolites characteristic, e.g., for moulds, bacteria, lichens, and plants were identified. All dust samples were cytotoxic (IC50 values of 8.66 and 56.15 mg ml 1 after 72 h). A flowchart of respiratory protective devices selection for biological hazards at the workstations in the waste sorting plant was proposed based on the completed tests to help determine the right type and use duration of the equipment.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Sulyok Michael
BOKU Gendermonitor:

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
Harmful biological agents
Metagenome analysis
Waste sorting plant
Occupational safety and health

© BOKU Wien Imprint