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Volume 15, No. 2, April 2015, Pages 572-581 PDF(1.17 MB)  
doi: 10.4209/aaqr.2014.10.0258   

Seasonal and Diurnal Variations of Fluorescent Bioaerosol Concentration and Size Distribution in the Urban Environment

Sampo Saari1, JarkkoV. Niemi2,3, Topi Rönkkö1, Heino Kuuluvainen1, Anssi Järvinen1, Liisa Pirjola4, Minna Aurela5, Risto Hillamo5, Jorma Keskinen1

1 Department of Physics, Tampere University of Technology, Tampere, Finland
2 Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY), P.O. Box 100, FI-00066 HSY, Finland
3 Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 65, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland
4 Department of Technology, Metropolia University of Applied Science, Kalevankatu 43, FI-00180 Helsinki, Finland
5 Atmospheric Composition Research, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Erik Palménin aukio 1, FI-00560 Helsinki, Finland


  • Fluorescent coarse bioaerosols showed up to 23% proportion in urban environment.
  • Fluorescent coarse bioaerosol concentration was high in summer and low in winter.
  • Remarkable detection difference was observed between the fluorescence instruments.
  • Fluorescent bioaerosol concentration increased greatly during the LRT episode.
  • Local combustion emissions were not considerable sources for fluorescent particles.



A recently introduced fluorescence based real-time bioaerosol instrument, BioScout, and an ultraviolet aerodynamic particle sizer (UVAPS) were used to study fluorescent bioaerosol particles (FBAP) in the Helsinki metropolitan area, Finland, during winter and summer. Two FBAP modes at 0.5–1.5 µm (fine) and 1.5–5 µm (coarse) were detected during the summer, whereas the fine mode dominated in the winter. The concentration and proportion of the coarse FBAP was high in summer (0.028 #/cm3, 23%) and low in winter (0.010 #/cm3, 6%). Snow cover and low biological activity were assumed to be the main reasons for the low coarse FBAP concentration in the wintertime. Both the fine and the coarse FBAP fraction typically increased at nighttime during the summer. Correlations between the BioScout and the UVAPS were high with the coarse (R = 0.83) and fine (R = 0.92) FBAP. The BioScout showed 2.6 and 9.7 times higher detection efficiencies for the coarse and fine FBAP, respectively, compared to the UVAPS. A long-range transport episode of particles from Eastern Europe increased the fine FBAP concentration by over two orders of magnitude compared to the clean period in the winter, but these FBAP probably also included fluorescent non-biological particles. Correlation analysis indicates that local combustion sources did not generate fluorescent non-biological particles that can disturb fine FBAP counting. The results provide information that can be used to estimate health risks and climatic relevance of bioaerosols in the urban environment.



Keywords: Fluorescence; Fungal spores; Bacteria; UVAPS; BioScout.



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