How working tasks influence biocontamination in an animal facility

Anna M. Marcelloni, Alessandra Chiominto, Simona Di Renzi, Paola Melis, Annarita Wirz, Maria C. Riviello, Stefania Massari, Renata Sisto, Maria C. D'Ovidio, Emilia Paba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The exposure to biocontaminants in animal facilities represents a risk for developing infectious, allergic and toxic diseases. The aim of this study was to determine what factors could be associated with a high level of exposure to biological agents through the measure and characterization of airborne fungi, bacteria, endotoxin, (1,3)-β-d-glucan and animal allergens. Airborne microorganisms were collected with an air sampler and identified by microscopic and biochemical methods. Endotoxin, (1,3)-β-d-glucan, Mus m 1, Rat n 1, Can f 1, Fel d 1, Equ c 4 allergens were detected on inhalable dust samples by Kinetic LAL, Glucatell, and ELISA assays, respectively. Our data evidenced that changing cages is a determinant factor in increasing the concentration of the airborne biocontaminants; the preparation of bedding and distribution of feed, performed in the storage area, is another critical working task in terms of exposure to endotoxins (210.7 EU/m3) and (1,3)-β-d-glucans (4.3 ng/m3). The highest concentration of Mus m 1 allergen (61.5 ng/m3) was observed in the dirty washing area. The detection of expositive peaks at risk of sensitization (>2 μg/g) by Fel d 1 in animal rooms shows passive transport by operators themselves, highlighting their role as vehicle between occupational and living environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2216
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2019


  • Allergens
  • Biological agents
  • Endotoxin
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Laboratory animal allergy
  • Occupational exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering(all)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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