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Concept: Particulates


Aluminium adjuvants remain the most widely used and effective adjuvants in vaccination and immunotherapy. Herein, the particle size distribution (PSD) of aluminium oxyhydroxide and aluminium hydroxyphosphate adjuvants was elucidated in attempt to correlate these properties with the biological responses observed post vaccination. Heightened solubility and potentially the generation of Al(3+) in the lysosomal environment were positively correlated with an increase in cell mortality in vitro, potentially generating a greater inflammatory response at the site of simulated injection. The cellular uptake of aluminium based adjuvants (ABAs) used in clinically approved vaccinations are compared to a commonly used experimental ABA, in an in vitro THP-1 cell model. Using lumogallion as a direct-fluorescent molecular probe for aluminium, complemented with transmission electron microscopy provides further insight into the morphology of internalised particulates, driven by the physicochemical variations of the ABAs investigated. We demonstrate that not all aluminium adjuvants are equal neither in terms of their physical properties nor their biological reactivity and potential toxicities both at the injection site and beyond. High loading of aluminium oxyhydroxide in the cytoplasm of THP-1 cells without immediate cytotoxicity might predispose this form of aluminium adjuvant to its subsequent transport throughout the body including access to the brain.

Concepts: Immune system, Electron, Cell, Immunology, Microscope, Particle size distribution, Toxicity, Particulates


Air-borne particulates from different sources could have different physicochemical properties and inflammatory potentials. This study aims to characterize the chemical compositions and the toxicity of ambient particulate matter (PM) associated with traffic emissions.

Concepts: Particulate, Smog, Air pollution, Particulates


Focused beam reflectance measurement (FBRM) was used as a process analytical technology tool to perform inline real-time particle size analysis of a proprietary granulation manufactured using a continuous twin-screw granulation-drying-milling process. A significant relationship between D20, D50, and D80 length-weighted chord length and sieve particle size was observed with a p value of <0.0001 and R (2) of 0.886. A central composite response surface statistical design was used to evaluate the effect of granulator screw speed and Comil® impeller speed on the length-weighted chord length distribution (CLD) and particle size distribution (PSD) determined by FBRM and nested sieve analysis, respectively. The effect of granulator speed and mill speed on bulk density, tapped density, Compressibility Index, and Flowability Index were also investigated. An inline FBRM probe placed below the Comil-generated chord lengths and CLD data at designated times. The collection of the milled samples for sieve analysis and PSD evaluation were coordinated with the timing of the FBRM determinations. Both FBRM and sieve analysis resulted in similar bimodal distributions for all ten manufactured batches studied. Within the experimental space studied, the granulator screw speed (650-850 rpm) and Comil® impeller speed (1,000-2,000 rpm) did not have a significant effect on CLD, PSD, bulk density, tapped density, Compressibility Index, and Flowability Index (p value > 0.05).

Concepts: Density, Particle size distribution, Chemical engineering, Bulk density, Particulates, Particle size, Toner, Sieve analysis


In-pram babies are more susceptible to air pollution effects, yet studies assessing their exposure are limited. We measured size-resolved particle mass (PMC; 0.25-32 μm) and number (PNC; 0.2-1 μm) concentrations on a 2.7 km route. The instruments were placed inside a baby pram. The route passed through 4 traffic intersections (TIs) and a bus stand. A total of ∼87 km road length was covered through 64 trips, made during school drop-in (morning) and pick-up (afternoon) hours. The objectives were to assess PMC and PNC exposure to in-pram babies at different route segments, understand their physicochemical characteristics and exposure differences between in-pram babies and adults carrying them. Over 5-fold variability (14.1-78.2 μg m(-3)) was observed in PMCs. Small-sized particles, including ultrafine particles, were always higher by 66% (PM1), 29% (PM2.5) and 31% (PNC) during the morning than afternoon. Coarse particles (PM2.5-10) showed an opposite trend with 70% higher concentration during afternoon than morning. TIs emerged as pollution hotspots for all the particle types. For example, PM2.5, PM2.5-10 and PNCs during the morning (afternoon) at TIs were 7 (10)%, 19 (10)% and 68 (62)% higher, respectively, compared with the rest of the route. Bus stand was also a section of enhanced exposure to PNC and PM2.5, although not so much for PM2.5-10. EDX analyses revealed Cl, Na and Fe as dominant elements. Road salt might be a source of NaCl due to de-icing during the measurements while Fe contributed by non-exhaust emissions from brake abrasion. The respiratory deposition rates imitated the trend of PMC, with higher doses of coarse and fine particles during the afternoon and morning runs, respectively. Special protection measures during conveyance of in-pram babies, especially at pollution hotspots such as traffic intersections and bus stands, could help to limit their exposure.

Concepts: Pollution, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Particulate, Smog, Air pollution, Dust, Diesel particulate matter, Particulates



The CDC recommends that healthcare settings provide influenza patients with facemasks as a means of reducing transmission to staff and other patients, and a recent report suggested that surgical masks can capture influenza virus in large droplet spray. However, there is minimal data on influenza virus aerosol shedding, the infectiousness of exhaled aerosols, and none on the impact of facemasks on viral aerosol shedding from patients with seasonal influenza. We collected samples of exhaled particles (one with and one without a facemask) in two size fractions (“coarse”>5 µm, “fine"≤5 µm) from 37 volunteers within 5 days of seasonal influenza onset, measured viral copy number using quantitative RT-PCR, and tested the fine-particle fraction for culturable virus. Fine particles contained 8.8 (95% CI 4.1 to 19) fold more viral copies than did coarse particles. Surgical masks reduced viral copy numbers in the fine fraction by 2.8 fold (95% CI 1.5 to 5.2) and in the coarse fraction by 25 fold (95% CI 3.5 to 180). Overall, masks produced a 3.4 fold (95% CI 1.8 to 6.3) reduction in viral aerosol shedding. Correlations between nasopharyngeal swab and the aerosol fraction copy numbers were weak (r = 0.17, coarse; r = 0.29, fine fraction). Copy numbers in exhaled breath declined rapidly with day after onset of illness. Two subjects with the highest copy numbers gave culture positive fine particle samples. Surgical masks worn by patients reduce aerosols shedding of virus. The abundance of viral copies in fine particle aerosols and evidence for their infectiousness suggests an important role in seasonal influenza transmission. Monitoring exhaled virus aerosols will be important for validation of experimental transmission studies in humans.

Concepts: Influenza, Number, Part, Particulate, Aerosol, Particulates, Reassortment, Global dimming


Background: Growing evidence indicates that toxicity of fine particulate matter ≤ 2.5 μm in diameter (PM2.5) differs by chemical component. Exposure to components may differ by population.Objectives: We investigated whether exposures to PM2.5 components differ by race/ethnicity, age, and socioeconomic status (SES).Methods: Long-term exposures (2000 through 2006) were estimated for 215 U.S. census tracts for PM2.5 and for 14 PM2.5 components. Population-weighted exposures were combined to generate overall estimated exposures by race/ethnicity, education, poverty status, employment, age, and earnings. We compared population characteristics for tracts with and without PM2.5 component monitors.Results: Larger disparities in estimated exposures were observed for components than for PM2.5 total mass. For race/ethnicity, whites generally had the lowest exposures. Non-Hispanic blacks had higher exposures than did whites for 13 of the 14 components. Hispanics generally had the highest exposures (e.g., 152% higher than whites for chlorine, 94% higher for aluminum). Young persons (0-19 years of age) had levels as high as or higher than other ages for all exposures except sulfate. Persons with lower SES had higher estimated exposures, with some exceptions. For example, a 10% increase in the proportion unemployed was associated with a 20.0% increase in vanadium and an 18.3% increase in elemental carbon. Census tracts with monitors had more non-Hispanic blacks, lower education and earnings, and higher unemployment and poverty than did tracts without monitors.Conclusions: Exposures to PM2.5 components differed by race/ethnicity, age, and SES. If some components are more toxic than others, certain populations are likely to suffer higher health burdens. Demographics differed between populations covered and not covered by monitors.

Concepts: Population, Socioeconomic status, Particulate, Sulfuric acid, Volcano, Sulfate, Particulates, Soot


This study presents one of the first long term datasets including a statistical summary of PM2.5 concentrations obtained from one-year monitoring in 190 cities in China. We found only 25 out of 190 cities could meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards of China, and the population-weighted mean of PM2.5 in Chinese cities are 61 μg/m(3), ~3 times as high as global population-weighted mean, highlighting a high health risk. PM2.5 concentrations are generally higher in north than in south regions due to relative large PM emissions and unfavorable meteorological conditions for pollution dispersion. A remarkable seasonal variability of PM2.5 is observed with the highest during the winter and the lowest during the summer. Due to the enhanced contributions from dust particles and open biomass burning, high PM2.5 abundances are also found in the spring (in Northwest and West Central China) and autumn (in East China), respectively. In addition, we found the lowest and highest PM2.5 often occurs in the afternoon and evening hours, respectively, associated with daily variation of the boundary layer depth and anthropogenic emissions. The diurnal distribution of the PM2.5-to-CO ratio consistently displays a pronounced peak during the afternoon periods, reflecting a significant contribution of secondary PM formation.

Concepts: Particulate, Visibility, Smog, National Ambient Air Quality Standards, Air pollution, Dust, Diesel particulate matter, Particulates


The objectives of this study were to measure levels of particulate matter (PM) in mechanically ventilated buildings and to improve understanding of filtration requirements to reduce exposure. With the use of an Ultra High Sensitivity Aerosol Spectrometer and an Aerodyne Mass Spectrometer, ultrafine (0.055-0.1 μm) and fine (0.1-0.7 μm) indoor and outdoor PM was measured as a function of time in an office, a university building, and two elementary schools. Indoor particle levels were highly correlated with outdoor levels. Indoor and outdoor number concentrations in Denver were higher than those in Boulder, with the highest number concentrations occurring during summer and fall. The ratio of indoor-to-outdoor (I/O) PM was weakly but positively correlated with the amount of ventilation provided to the indoor environment, did not vary much with particle size (ranged between 0.48 and 0.63 for the entire size range), and was similar for each period of the week (weekend vs. weekday, night vs. day). Regression analyses showed that ultrafine indoor PM baseline concentrations were higher at night from nighttime infiltration. A lag time was observed between outdoor and indoor measurements. Weekday days had the shortest lag time of 11 min, and weekend nighttime lags when the HVAC was not in use were 50 to 148 min. Indoor-outdoor PM concentration plots showed ultrafine PM was more correlated compared to fine, and especially when the HVAC system was on. Finally, AMS data showed that most of the PM was organic, with occasional nitrate events occurring outdoors. During nitrate events, there were less indoor particles detected, indicating a loss of particulate phase nitrate. The results from this study show that improved filtration is warranted in mechanically ventilated buildings, particularly for ultrafine particles, and that nighttime infiltration is significant depending on the building design.

Concepts: Particle physics, Measurement, Particulate, Indoor air quality, HVAC, Diesel particulate matter, Particulates, Infiltration


Land Use Regression (LUR) is a popular method to explain and predict spatial contrasts in air pollution concentrations, but LUR models for ultrafine particles, such as particle number concentration (PNC) are especially scarce. Moreover, no models have been previously presented for the lung deposited surface area (LDSA) of ultrafine particles. The additional value of ultrafine particle metrics has not been well investigated due to lack of exposure measurements and models.

Concepts: Particle physics, Nitrogen, Particulate, Smog, Air pollution, Diesel particulate matter, Particulates, Ultrafine particles