The measurement of aerosolized endotoxin from land application of Class B biosolids in Southeast Arizona

J. P. Brooks, B. D. Tanner, C. P. Gerba, I. L. Pepper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine aerosolized endotoxin concentrations downwind of a biosolids land application site. Aerosol samples were collected from biosolids land application sites, tractor operation, and an aeration basin located within an open-air wastewater treatment plant. Aerosolized endotoxin above background concentrations was detected from all sites, at levels ranging from below detection up to 1800 EU m-3 of air. Biosolids loading operations resulted in the greatest concentrations of endotoxin (mean 344 EU m-3). As downwind (perpendicular to wind vector) distance increased from sources (2-200 m). levels of endotoxin decreased to near background (without biosolids application) concentrations. Overall, the detected levels of aerosolized endotoxin were within past proposed aerosolized endotoxin limits (250-2000 EU m-3) by other occupational exposure studies. Occasionally, peak concentrations were found to be above these limits. Sites in which soil was being aerosolized resulted in greater concentrations of endotoxin with or without biosolids. which suggested that the majority of endotoxin may in fact be of soil origin. This study evaluated the presence of aerosolized endotoxin from the land application of biosolids and showed that these levels were within ranges for concern suggested by other studies and that this area of research needs further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-156
Number of pages7
JournalCanadian Journal of Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Aerosol
  • Bioaerosol
  • Biosolids
  • Endotoxin
  • Lipopolysaccharide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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