Airborne microbial contents in two types of swine confinement buildings in Quebec

Am Ind Hyg Assoc J. 1990 Jun;51(6):304-9. doi: 10.1080/15298669091369709.


Airborne microorganisms were isolated with a sampler in two types of swine confinement buildings (farrowing units and fattening units). Respirable (particles less than 5 microns) and total dust fractions were obtained. Samplings were repeated every 2 weeks for a total of 6 samplings per unit between January and April. The predominant microorganisms isolated were bacteria (up to 1.25 x 10(6) CFU/m3) with an important fraction in the respirable size range (up to 0.5 x 10(6) CFU/m3). Only small quantities of gram-negative bacteria, yeasts, and molds were found. Identification of the colonies isolated revealed a great diversity of microorganisms present in the air of the different buildings. Enterobacter agglomerans, Moraxella, Acinetobacter calcoaceticus, and Pseudomonas were the most frequently identified bacteria. Scopulariopsis, Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Candida were the most numerous fungi. Faenia rectivirgula, the causative agent of farmer's lung, was not a major contaminant. The results show some differences in airborne microbial contamination between farrowing and fattening units; the distinction, however, is not clear-cut and was observed only for the total bacteria. The level of airborne microbial contamination in swine units does not significantly vary as a function of the outside temperature. Some species of bacteria and fungi isolated in this study are known to induce extrinsic allergic alveolitis. Other fungi are known to be potentially pathogenic for man. The air of swine confinement buildings is highly contaminated with bacteria, yeasts, and molds at a level up to 1200 time higher than so-called "normal air."

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Microbiology*
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Aspergillus / isolation & purification
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Dust / analysis
  • Fungi / isolation & purification
  • Housing, Animal*
  • Humidity
  • Quebec
  • Swine
  • Temperature
  • Yeasts / isolation & purification


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Dust