Non-volatile particle emissions from aircraft turbine engines at ground-idle induce oxidative stress in bronchial cells

Commun Biol. 2019 Mar 5;2:90. doi: 10.1038/s42003-019-0332-7. eCollection 2019.


Aircraft emissions contribute to local and global air pollution. Health effects of particulate matter (PM) from aircraft engines are largely unknown, since controlled cell exposures at relevant conditions are challenging. We examined the toxicity of non-volatile PM (nvPM) emissions from a CFM56-7B26 turbofan, the world's most used aircraft turbine using an unprecedented exposure setup. We combined direct turbine-exhaust sampling under realistic engine operating conditions and the Nano-Aerosol Chamber for In vitro Toxicity to deposit particles onto air-liquid-interface cultures of human bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS-2B) at physiological conditions. We evaluated acute cellular responses after 1-h exposures to diluted exhaust from conventional or alternative fuel combustion. We show that single, short-term exposures to nvPM impair bronchial epithelial cells, and PM from conventional fuel at ground-idle conditions is the most hazardous. Electron microscopy of soot reveals varying reactivity matching the observed cellular responses. Stronger responses at lower mass concentrations suggest that additional metrics are necessary to evaluate health risks of this increasingly important emission source.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects
  • Air Pollution
  • Aircraft*
  • Biomarkers
  • Bronchi*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects*
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Particulate Matter / adverse effects*
  • Respiratory Mucosa / drug effects
  • Respiratory Mucosa / metabolism
  • Vehicle Emissions / toxicity*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Biomarkers
  • Particulate Matter
  • Vehicle Emissions