Marine aerosol as a possible source for endotoxins in coastal areas

Naama Lang-Yona, Yoav Lehahn, Barak Herut, Noa Burshtein, Yinon Rudich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Marine aerosols, that are very common in the highly populated coastal cities and communities, may contain biological constituents. Some of this biological fraction of marine aerosols, such as cyanobacteria and plankton debris, may influence human health by inflammation and allergic reactions when inhaled. In this study we identify and compare sources for endotoxins sampled on filters in an on-shore and more-inland site. Filter analysis included endotoxin content, total bacteria, gram-negative bacteria and cyanobacteria genome concentrations as well as ion content in order to identify possible sources for the endotoxins. Satellite images of chlorophyll-a levels and back trajectory analysis were used to further study the cyanobacteria blooms in the sea, close to the trajectory of the sampled air. The highest endotoxin concentrations found in the shoreline site were during winter (3.23±0.17 EU/m3), together with the highest cyanobacteria genome (1065.5 genome/m3). The elevated endotoxin concentrations were significantly correlated with cyanobacterial levels scaled to the presence of marine aerosol (r=0.90), as well as to chlorophyll-a (r=0.96). Filters sampled further inland showed lower and non-significant correlation between endotoxin and cyanobacteria (r=0.70, P value=0.19), suggesting decrease in marine-originated endotoxin, with possible contributions from other sources of gram-negative non-cyanobacteria. We conclude that marine cyanobacteria may be a dominant contributor to elevated endotoxin levels in coastal areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-318
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier B.V.


  • Cyanobacteria
  • Endotoxin
  • Filter sampling
  • Genomic analysis
  • Health effects
  • Marine aerosols

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


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