The release of airborne microorganisms from organic waste treatment plants is raising concerns due to the potential health risks for site workers and local residents. The training of the applicant under a Marie Curie Program has focused on the generation a nd dispersion of airborne microorganisms at different waste treatment plants (mainly composting plants) in the UK. The present proposal is intended to apply the knowledge gained by the applicant to the specific conditions of the Mediterranean countries fro m southern Europe (warmer climates and different life style). The objective of this project is to assess the effect of the specific conditions of the Mediterranean countries, such as higher temperatures and different organic waste composition, on the amoun t of airborne microorganisms generated and the dispersion patterns. To achieve this, the research involves air monitoring at different full scale composting plants in operation in southern Spain to assess the amount of bioaerosols generated under their spe cific conditions. The research also involves the use of a pilot scale composting plant that facilitates modifying different operational aspects of the plant to establish the main factors affecting bioaerosol generation and dispersion. The output of the res earch will be twofold. First, to establish to what extent the different environmental and weather conditions of different regions of Europe will affect the bioaerosol generation and dispersion patterns. Secondly, to study the potential application of this methodology to different areas such as farming and food processing companies, that represent the main economical activities of these regions.
Fields of science
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