Air samples collected on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands were screened for the presence of viable bacteria and fungi to determine if the number of cultivatable microbes in the atmosphere differed between "clear atmospheric conditions" and "African dust-events." Results indicate that during "African dust-events," the numbers of cultivatable airborne microorganisms can be 2 to 3 times that found during "clear atmospheric conditions." Direct microbial counts of air samples using an epifluorescent microscopy assay demonstrated that during an "African dust-event," bacteria-like and virus-like particle counts were approximately one log greater than during "clear atmospheric conditions." Bacteria-like particles exhibiting autofluoresence, a trait of phototrophs, were only detected during an "African dust-event.".
Additional Publication Details
African desert dust in the Caribbean atmosphere: Microbiology and public health