A review on airborne microbes: The characteristics of sources, pathogenicity and geography

Xueyan Chen, Deepika Kumari, Varenyam Achal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Microbes are widespread and have been much more studied in recent years. In this review, we describe detailed information on airborne microbes that commonly originate from soil and water through liquid-air and soil-air interface. The common bacteria and fungi in the atmosphere are the phyla of Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, Bacteroides, Actinobacteria, Cyanobacteria and Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, Chytridiomycota, Rozellomycota that include most pathogens leading to several health problems. In addition, the stability of microbial community structure in bioaerosols could be affected by many factors and some special weather conditions like dust events even can transport foreign pathogens to other regions, affecting human health. Such environments are common for a particular place and affect the nature and interaction of airborne microbes with them. For instance, meteorological factors, haze and foggy days greatly influence the concentration and abundance of airborne microbes. However, as microorganisms in the atmosphere are attached on particulate matters (PM), the high concentration of chemical pollutants in PM tends to restrain the growth of microbes, especially gathering atmospheric pollutants in heavy haze days. Moreover, moderate haze concentration and/or common chemical components could provide suitable microenvironments and nutrition for airborne microorganism survival. In summary, the study reviews much information and characteristics of airborne microbes for further study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number919
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Airborne microbes
  • Atmospheric components
  • Geographical characteristics
  • Pathogens
  • Transportation


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