Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1991;17(2):117-122    pdf


Feeding and bedding materials as sources of microbial exposure on dairy farms.

by Kotimaa MH, Oksanen L, Koskela P

Hay, grain, silage, and bedding are the sources of mold dust in agriculture. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of different farming methods on exposure to airborne microbes. The study material comprised 50 silage, 54 hay, 47 grain, and 70 bedding samples taken on 18 farms in the beginning, middle, and end of the indoor feeding season. The modified wind-tunnel technique and six-stage impactors were used to determine the number of mesophilic bacteria, xerophilic fungi, mesophilic fungi, thermotolerant fungi, and thermophilic actinomycetes liberated from each material. Baled hay and straw liberated the largest amounts of microbes. Hay, except when dried in storage, liberated great numbers of fungal spores. The proportion of respirable airborne microbe-bearing particles was greatest in the highest concentrations. Theoretically, choosing the best possible alternative work methods could diminish exposure to microbes to one-tenth of the present level.