Archaea and bacteria exposure in Danish livestock farmers

Tidsskriftartikel - 2019


OBJECTIVES: Methanogenic archaea have been found to make up part of the bioaerosols in pig, cattle, and poultry farms. So far no attempts have been made to determine how season, farm type, and farm characteristics may affect workers' exposure to archaea.

METHODS: Personal filter samples from 327 farmers working on 89 Danish farms were analysed for the number of 16S rRNA gene copies from archaea and bacteria and for their dust and endotoxin content. The farms were visited during summer and winter. Information on farm type and stable characteristics were collected using self-reported activity diaries and walk-through surveys. Differences in archaea and bacteria levels with farm type and stable characteristics and correlations with dust and endotoxin levels were examined.

RESULTS: Personal archaea exposure was documented in all farm types including, for the first time, during mink farming. At 7.3*104 gene copies m-3 the archaea levels were around two orders of magnitude lower than bacteria levels at 5.7*106 gene copies m-3. At 1.7*105 gene copies m-3 among pig farmers and 1.9*104 gene copies m-3 among cattle farmers the archaea levels differed with farm type (P < 0.0005). The archaea and bacteria levels correlated weakly with a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.17. Neither archaea nor bacteria levels differed by season. In pig farms the archaea levels differed by type of ventilation and by wetness of the floor.

CONCLUSIONS: Archaea levels were not neglible and appeared to vary greatly between farm types. In pig farms they varied with some farm characteristics. Archaea levels appeared to depend on factors that differed from those of bacteria.


Bønløkke JH, Duchaine C, Schlünssen V, Sigsgaard T, Veillette M, Basinas I. Archaea and bacteria exposure in Danish livestock farmers. Annals of Work Exposures and Health 2019;63(9):965-974.
doi: 10.1093/annweh/wxz058

Gå til Tidsskriftartikel