IMR Press / FBS / Volume 3 / Issue 2 / DOI: 10.2741/S163

Frontiers in Bioscience-Scholar (FBS) is published by IMR Press from Volume 13 Issue 1 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

Assessment of airborne microorganisms by real-time PCR: optimistic findings and research challenges
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1 Institute for Work and Health, University of Lausanne and Geneva, Switzerland

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Front. Biosci. (Schol Ed) 2011, 3(2), 445–453;
Published: 1 January 2011

Most airborne microorganisms are natural components of our ecosystem. Soil, vegetation and animals, including humans, are sources for aerial release of these living or dead cells. In the past, assessment of airborne microorganisms was mainly restricted to occupational health concerns. Indeed, in several occupations, exposure to very high concentrations of non-infectious airborne bacteria and fungi, result in allergenic, toxic or irritant reactions. Recently, the threat of bioterrorism and pandemics have highlighted the urgent need to increase knowledge of bioaerosol ecology. More fundamentally, airborne bacterial and fungal communities begin to draw much more consideration from environmental microbiologists, who have neglected this area for a long time. This increased interest of scientists is to a great part due to the development and use of real-time PCR techniques to identify and quantify airborne microorganisms. Even if the advantages of the PCR technology are obvious, researchers are confronted with new problems. This review describes the methodological state of the art in bioaerosols field and emphasizes the future challenges and perspectives of the real-time PCR-based methods for airborne microorganism studies.

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