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Assessment of Children’s Potential Exposure to Bioburden in Indoor Environments


The exposure to particles and bioaerosols has been associated with the increase in health effects in children. The objective of this study was to assess the indoor exposure to bioburden in the indoor microenvironments more frequented by children. Air particulate matter (PM) and settled dust were sampled in 33 dwellings and four schools with a medium volume sampler and with a passive method using electrostatic dust collectors (EDC), respectively. Settled dust collected by EDC was analyzed by culture-based methods (including azole resistance profile) and using qPCR. Results showed that the PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations in classrooms (31.15 μg/m3 and 57.83 μg/m3, respectively) were higher than in homes (15.26 μg/m3 and 18.95 μg/m3 , respectively) and highly exceeded the limit values established by the Portuguese legislation for indoor air quality. The fungal species most commonly found in bedrooms was Penicillium sp. (91.79%), whereas, in living rooms, it was Rhizopus sp. (37.95%). Aspergillus sections with toxigenic potential were found in bedrooms and living rooms and were able to grow on VOR. Although not correlated with PM, EDC provided information regarding the bioburden. Future studies, applying EDC coupled with PM assessment, should be implemented to allow for a long-term integrated sample of organic dust.


  • 2.1 Location of the Studied Schools and Dwellings
    2.2 Air particulate matter and settled dust sampling
    2.3 Electrostatic Dust Cloth Extraction and Bioburden Characterization
    2.4 Statistical analysis

  • 3.1. Particulate Matter Assessment
    3.2. Bacterial Contamination Assessment
    3.3. Fungal Contamination Assessment
    3.4. Azole-Resistance Screening
    3.5. Molecular Assessment
    3.6. Correlation Analysis
    3.7. Comparison between Sampling Locations


Date: 2022

Author: Carla Viegas, Beatriz Almeida, Marta Dias, Liliana Aranha Caetano, Elisabete Carolino, Anita Quintal Gomes, Tiago Faria, Vânia Martins, Susana Marta Almeida

Geographical area: Portugal, Lisbon

Type of publication : Article

Language : EN