Research Article Open Access


Carresse Gerald1, Christi McPherson1, Tha’Mes McDaniel1, Zhigang Xu1, Bryce Holmes1, Leonard Williams1, Niki Whitley1 and Jenora Turner Waterman1
  • 1 North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, United States


The levels and composition of agricultural dusts are influenced by animal species, production strategy, housing type and ventilation efficiency. Agricultural dust within animal houses is complex and consists of feed particles, microbes and their products, dander, fecal matter, gases, metals and other organic and inorganic components. Livestock and poultry production facilities may be categorized as confinement, semi-confinement or pasture-based. Characterization of animal husbandry building dust will provide insight into understanding exposures experienced by animals, workers and farm visitors. The goal was to characterize biophysiochemical features of livestock dusts from swine, small ruminant, equine, poultry and cattle husbandry units. Settled dust samples were collected from livestock and poultry housing units at the University Farm and other livestock farms across the state. Morphological features were determined by electron microscopy and gravimetry. Biochemical evaluation consisted of pH determination and trace metal detection via mass spectrometry. Biological assessment centered on bacterial characterization via selective media, DNA analysis and endotoxin quantitation. Morphological analyses revealed higher levels of respirable and thoracic particles in poultry, swine, small ruminant and equine units compared to the dairy unit (p<0.01). Dusts were slightly acidic with the exception of the NCAT small ruminant unit (p<0.05). Dust endotoxin levels were consistent and bacterial species detected include Listeria and Escherichia coli. These findings suggest animal husbandry buildings harbor higher levels of smaller respirable and thoracic dust particles compared to inhalable particles. This information may be helpful in understanding dust exposures experienced by animals, farmers and agricultural workers.

American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Volume 9 No. 2, 2014, 153-166


Submitted On: 20 September 2013 Published On: 16 January 2014

How to Cite: Gerald, C., McPherson, C., McDaniel, T., Xu, Z., Holmes, B., Williams, L., Whitley, N. & Waterman, J. T. (2014). A BIOPHYSIOCHEMICAL ANALYSIS OF SETTLED LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY HOUSING DUSTS. American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences, 9(2), 153-166.

  • 5 Citations



  • Agriculture
  • Animal Housing
  • Bacterial Identification
  • Organic Dust
  • Particle Characterization
  • Settled Dust