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Bacterial community in commercial airliner cabins in China

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Considering the amount of time that crew members and passengers spend on airliners and the potential health impact of pathogenic bacteria, it is important to understand the population of bacteria inside airliners and the factors affecting the bacterial concentration. This study recorded the species of airborne and cabin surface culturable bacteria inside various airliner. Seven flights ranging from 3 to 5 hours in duration on different types of airliner were chosen. Multiple species of bacteria in the air of the airliners, such as Brachybacterium paraconglomeratum, were identified by means of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing method, and most of the bacteria were Gram-positive. This study found that the bacterial concentration in the airliners decreases as the relative humidity increases. The decrease in the number of airborne bacteria may be the reason for the reduced occurrence of unwanted symptoms exhibited by passengers.
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Keywords: 16S ribosomal RNA identification; Public health; airliner cabin; bacteria; relative humidity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Tianjin Key Lab of Indoor Air Environmental Quality Control, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China 2: School of Energy and Safety Engineering, Tianjin Chengjian University, Tianjin, China

Publication date: May 3, 2020

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