Presence of endotoxins in different agricultural environments

Am J Ind Med. 1990;18(3):279-84. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700180307.


Gram-negative bacterial endotoxins are contaminants of dusts from agricultural products. They represent a potential health hazard for farmers working in many different processes. However, the occurrence of endotoxins has not been well characterized in the various farming operations. Therefore, two farming activities with potential for generating airborne endotoxins were studied: 1) chopping of baled corn stalks or straw for bedding in New York State, and 2) oat bin unloading in Alabama. Actual airborne endotoxin levels in dusts obtained during bedding chopper operations far exceeded [90 endotoxin units (EU)/m3] the level at which acute pulmonary function decrements occur in cotton dust-exposed individuals. Endotoxin contamination of laboratory-generated dust from an oat sample likewise exceeded these levels. This study documents the presence of potentially hazardous exposures to endotoxins in two common farm processes, which expands the knowledge of airborne endotoxin exposures on the farm.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture*
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / analysis*
  • Dust / analysis
  • Edible Grain
  • Endotoxins / analysis*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • New York


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Dust
  • Endotoxins