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Science of The Total Environment
Vol. 541, 2016, Pages: 1011–1018

Concentration and size distribution of total airborne microbes in hazy and foggy weather

Lijie Dong, Jianhua Qi, Congcong Shao, Xi Zhong, Dongmei Gao, Wanwan Cao, Jiawei Gao, Ran Bai, Gaoyuan Long, Congcong Chu

Key Lab of Marine Environmental Science and Ecology, Ministry of Education, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266100, China.


Atmospheric bioaerosol particles were collected using a bioaerosol sampler from Oct. 2013 to Aug. 2014 in the coastal region of Qingdao. The total microbes were measured using an epifluorescence microscope after staining with DAPI (4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole). The concentration of total airborne microbes showed seasonal variation, with the highest value in winter and the lowest in summer. The mean concentration of total microbes was 6.55 × 105 Cells/m3 on non-hazy days. The total microbe concentration increased to 7.09 × 105 and 9.00 × 105 Cells/m3 on hazy and foggy days, respectively. The particle sizes of the total microbes presented a bimodal distribution on sunny days, with one peak at 1.1–2.1 μm and another at 4.7–7.0 μm. The size distribution of total microbes showed an increase in the fine fraction on hazy days and an increase in the coarse fraction on foggy days. However, the size distribution became unimodal during a heating period. Spearman correlation analysis showed that temperature and O2 had a significant negative correlation with the airborne microbe concentration, while PM2.5, SO2, NO2, CO and the air quality index (AQI) had significant positive correlations with the airborne microbe concentration during hazy days. The increased number of airborne microbes will affect the air quality on hazy days.

Keywords: Bioaerosols; Microbes; Size distribution; Haze; Fog.

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