email: [email protected]; [email protected]: Tellus B 2012, 64, 15598, DOI: 10.3402/tellusb.v64i0.15598 Tellus B 2012. The term ‘primary biological aerosol particles’ is defined to describe solid airborne particles derived from biological organisms, including microorganisms and fragments of biological materials such as plant debris and animal dander (IGAP, 1992) The term primary biological aerosol is more or less equivalent to the ‘soft’ term ‘bioaerosol’ (Reponen et al., 1995; Hinds, 1999). Viable but nonculturable bacteria: a survival strategy. Recently, several investigations have suggested that biological particles can have a substantial influence on clouds and precipitation and thus may influence the hydrological cycle and climate at least on regional scales (e.g.
The biosphere, or the system in which all living things interact, dominates the Earth's surface, influencing the composition of land, water and air. In other cases, it is used in a very broad sense, e.g. including any particle with biological activity/toxicity (Hirst, 1995), which would theoretically also comprise droplets of toxic chemicals such as sulphuric or nitric acid. We suggest that the following research activities should be pursued in future studies of atmospheric biological aerosol particles: (1) develop efficient and reliable analytical techniques for the identification and quantification of PBAP; (2) apply advanced and standardised techniques to determine the abundance and diversity of PBAP and their seasonal variation at regional and global scales (atmospheric biogeography); (3) determine the emission rates, optical properties, IN and CCN activity of PBAP in field measurements and laboratory experiments; (4) use field and laboratory data to constrain numerical models of atmospheric transport, transformation and climate effects of PBAP. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License ( permitting all non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Particle diameters are typically in the range of ~1 nm to around ~100 µm, where the lower limit is given by the size of small molecular clusters and the upper limit by high settling velocities comparable to the magnitude of atmospheric updraft velocities (~1 m s, Hinds, 1999; Seinfeld and Pandis, 2006). Keywords: primary biological atmospheric aerosol; climate; cloud condensation nuclei; biology; atmospheric ice nuclei *Corresponding authors. Primary atmospheric aerosol particles are emitted directly into the atmosphere from a source material, whereas secondary particles are formed in the atmosphere by condensation of gaseous precursors (Pöschl, 2005; Fuzzi et al., 2006).
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Also, global average number concentrations of biological particles have often been assumed to be insignificant compared to non-biological material and have thus not typically been considered for widespread measurements or included in global climate models. However, biological particles in general have received less attention in atmospheric science than other types of aerosol particles such as sulfate, sea salt, mineral dust or volcanic ash (e.g. This is primarily because the atmospheric impact of biological aerosols has been poorly understood, and because atmospherically relevant measurements have been costly and difficult to interpret. Matthias-Maser and Jaenicke, 1995) as comprising a much higher percentage of total atmospheric aerosol volume, however, and so important discrepancies exist. Cycling and effects of primary biological aerosol particles in the atmosphere and biosphere (adapted from Pöschl, 2005). Characteristic concentrations and emission estimates 3. PBAP concentrations have been estimated by other researchers (e.g. In contrast to the more rigorously defined ‘biological aerosol’, however, the term ‘bioaerosol’ is not very clearly defined and is frequently used with different meanings.
In some cases, the term bioaerosol is used in a rather narrow sense, excluding biological secretion such as plant wax particles, for example (Gelencér, 2004). Trends in airborne pollen: an overview of 21 years of data in Neuchâtel (Switzerland).
This is highlighted by the fact that an Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) search for the term ‘biological aerosol’ (including quotation marks) results in less than a total of five publications until 1987, approximately one citation per year between 19, and then steadily increasing numbers with an average of ~9 citations per year between 19.
A list of abbreviations can be found in the appendix. Interest in biological aerosol has been growing significantly in recent decades.
pollen, plant debris; Cox and Wathes, 1995; Hinds, 1999; Jaenicke, 2005; Pöschl, 2005).
Larger particles of biological material can also be lifted into the air, but due to high settling velocities they are rapidly deposited rather than being suspended over long times.