Impact of bacterial aerosol, particulate matter, and microclimatic parameters on animal welfare in Chorzów (Poland) zoological garden

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Jacek Grzyb, Krzysztof Pawlak
Environmental Science and Pollution Research
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Zoos are very popular facilities visited by entire families with children, who come there to watch live animals. Zoos also provide workplaces for a large number of people directly looking after the animals. For places designed to house animals, regardless of whether they are farm animals, pets, or zoo animals, a higher concentration of both dust and potentially harmful bioaerosols can be expected. Unfortunately, there are almost no studies concerning the concentration of bacterial bioaerosols and particulate matter in animal shelters that would answer the question whether the level of these pollutants is constant or variable and dependent on a particular zoo, group of animals, their number in enclosures, or season. This study aimed to assess the levels of bacterial aerosol in rooms intended for animals (giraffes, camels, elephants, kangaroos, and colobinae) in the Silesian Zoological Garden in Chorzów (Poland). The bioaerosol samples were collected using a six-stage Andersen cascade impactor to assess the concentrations and size distribution of airborne bacteria. Particulate matter (PM10) was assessed using an electronic dust meter. Measurements of microclimate parameters were carried out using the Airflow™ Instruments Velocity Meter TA440, while gas concentrations were determined applying GFG Microtector II G450. The results showed that the concentration of airborne bacteria varied significantly between facilities for the analyzed animal groups. The lowest concentration of the total bacterial aerosol was observed in enclosures for colobinae (approx. 850 CFU/m3), while the highest—in rooms for elephants (approx. 105,600 CFU/m3). The average share of respirable fraction of bacteria was quite high, with values ranging from 62.9 (colobinae) to 86.9% (elephants), indicating potential harmfulness to the health of exposed people. PM10 concentrations were relatively low (10–86 μg/m3) and did not exceed the limit values for occupational exposure. Moreover, the levels of bacterial bioaerosol in almost all cases did not exceed the limit values. As the animals constitute a significant source of bioaerosol, attention should be paid to thorough cleaning of animals and their shelters, as well as maintaining appropriate levels of microclimate parameters in the facilities.


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