The significance of air pollution in aerobiology

M. D. Lebowitz, M. K. O’Rourke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Aerobiology has two components related to air pollution: the first is that biologicals (viable or resulting particles) can be air contaminants and produce adverse health effects; the second is that other air pollutants can adversely affect viable airborne organisms. In evaluating the allergenic, infectious, and irritant effects of air contaminants, biological aerosols (viable or otherwise) are of major concern. They may also interact with other contaminants in producing these effects, the effects cannot always be separated either. Some well known instances of interaction occur also in the determination of sensitivity and subsequent reactions in individuals. Thus, individuals sensitized to biological aeroallergens are often more sensitive, vis-a-vis the same organs, to other air contaminants. Further, the gaseous or particulate contaminants may damage the aerobiological organisms, including interfering with reproduction or inhibiting initial growth (in the environment or in humans), or they may stimulate the in vivo media for growth. The most frequent interaction is the synergistic effect the aerobiological and chemical pollutants have on health. Of course, other “climatic” factors affect both, outdoors or indoors, including humidity, temperature, wind speed (ventilation indoors). Thus, there is an ecological microsystem reflecting the dynamics of aerobiological and chemico-physical contaminants; this in turn affects the homeostasis of humans within (or in contact with) that ecosystem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-43
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'The significance of air pollution in aerobiology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this