Microbial and size characterization of airborne particulate matter collected on sticky tapes along US–Mexico border

Amir González-Delgado , David W. DuBois , Evangelina Olivas , Joel A. Hernández Escamilla , Juan P. Flores-Márgez , Manoj K. Shukla


Received May 23, 2015,Revised October 10, 2015, Accepted October 26, 2015, Available online June 03, 2016

Volume 53,2017,Pages 207-216

Particulate matter (PM) emissions from various sources can affect significantly human health and environmental quality especially in the Chihuahuan Desert region along US–Mexico border. The objective of this study was to use the low-cost sticky tape method to collect airborne PM for size characterization and identification of fungal spores. Sticky tape samplers were placed at 1.0 and 2.0 m above the ground surface at experimental sites in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico and at 0.6, 1.2 and 1.8 m at New Mexico sites, USA. Soil samples were collected in both countries to determine fungal diversity, texture and moisture content. Dust particles collected from all of the experimental sites had a dominant texture of clay (< 0.002 mm). The dominant textures identified from soil samples collected from the US and Mexican sites were loam and sandy clay loam, respectively. Alternaria, Penicillium and Fusarium were frequently found funguses in the US sites while Alternaria and Aspergillus were commonly observed in the Mexican sites. The sticky tapes also showed a similar diversity of fungal microorganisms present in the airborne PM at both Mexico and US sites. Alternaria, Penicillium and Aspergillus were the three groups of airborne fungal microorganisms consistently present in the US and Mexican sites. The low-cost sticky tape method has the potential to be used for characterizing different airborne microorganisms and dust particles.

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