Changes in the airborne bacterial community in outdoor environments following Asian dust events

Nobuyasu Yamaguchi, Jonguk Park, Makiko Kodama, Tomoaki Ichijo, Takashi Baba, Masao Nasu
Microbes and Environments 2014, 29 (1): 82-8
Bacterial abundance and community compositions have been examined in aeolian dust in order to clarify their possible impacts on public health and ecosystems. The influence of transcontinentally transported bacterial cells on microbial communities in the outdoor environments of downwind areas should be determined because the rapid influx of a large amount of bacterial cells can disturb indigenous microbial ecosystems. In the present study, we analyzed bacteria in air samples (approximately 100 m(3) d(-1)) that were collected on both Asian dust days and non-Asian dust days over 2 years (between November 2010 and July 2012). Changes in bacterial abundance and community composition were investigated based on their 16S rRNA gene amount and sequence diversity. Seasonal monitoring revealed that airborne bacterial abundance was more than 10-fold higher on severe dust days, while moderate dust events did not affect airborne bacterial abundance. A comparison of bacterial community compositions revealed that bacteria in Asian dust did not immediately disturb the airborne microbial community in areas 3,000-5,000 km downwind of dust source regions, even when a large amount of bacterial cells were transported by the atmospheric event. However, microbes in aeolian dust may have a greater impact on indigenous microbial communities in downwind areas near the dust source. Continuous temporal and spatial analyses from dust source regions to downwind regions (e.g., from the Gobi desert to China, Korea, Japan, and North America) will assist in estimating the impact of atmospherically transported bacteria on indigenous microbial ecosystems in downwind areas.


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