Occupational exposure to microorganisms used as biocontrol agents in plant production

Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2011 Jan 1;3:606-20. doi: 10.2741/s174.


Exposure to bioaerosols containing fungi and bacteria may cause various deleterious respiratory health effects. Fungi and bacteria are commercially produced and applied to the environment as microbiological pest control agents (MPCAs). Attention has been drawn towards the exposure and health risks due to the use of commercially important MPCAs. As part of a risk evaluation this paper intends to review whether the exposure to MPCAs (Beauveria bassiana, Verticillium lecanii, Trichoderma harzianum, T. viride, T. polysporum, Paecilomyces fumosoroseus, P. lilacinus, Streptomyces griseoviridis, Bacillus subtilis and Ba. thuringiensis) exceeds background exposure levels. The paper is further aimed to focus on the aerosolization of MPCAs in relation to exposure and human inhalation. From the few studies about exposures it is concluded that both people handling MPCAs in occupational settings and residents of an area where MPCAs have been applied may be exposed to MPCAs. The highest exposures to MPCAs are found for people applying MPCAs. In 2 of 12 environments exposure to applied MPCAs were higher than exposure to the total number of bacteria or fungi.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols / adverse effects*
  • Air Microbiology*
  • Forestry / methods
  • Humans
  • Mitosporic Fungi*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Occupational Health*
  • Pest Control, Biological*
  • Streptomyces*


  • Aerosols