Aeromicrobiology: A global review of the cycling and relationships of bioaerosols with the atmosphere

Ariel C. Tastassa, Yehonatan Sharaby, Naama Lang-Yona

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Airborne microorganisms and biological matter (bioaerosols) play a key role in global biogeochemical cycling, human and crop health trends, and climate patterns. Their presence in the atmosphere is controlled by three main stages: emission, transport, and deposition. Aerial survival rates of bioaerosols are increased through adaptations such as ultra-violet radiation and desiccation resistance or association with particulate matter. Current research into modern concerns such as climate change, global gene transfer, and pathogenicity often neglects to consider atmospheric involvement. This comprehensive review outlines the transpiring of bioaerosols across taxa in the atmosphere, with significant focus on their interactions with environmental elements including abiotic factors (e.g., atmospheric composition, water cycle, and pollution) and events (e.g., dust storms, hurricanes, and wildfires). The aim of this review is to increase understanding and shed light on needed research regarding the interplay between global atmospheric phenomena and the aeromicrobiome. The abundantly documented bacteria and fungi are discussed in context of their cycling and human health impacts. Gaps in knowledge regarding airborne viral community, the challenges and importance of studying their composition, concentrations and survival in the air are addressed, along with understudied plant pathogenic oomycetes, and archaea cycling. Key methodologies in sampling, collection, and processing are described to provide an up-to-date picture of ameliorations in the field. We propose optimization to microbiological methods, commonly used in soil and water analysis, that adjust them to the context of aerobiology, along with other directions towards novel and necessary advancements. This review offers new perspectives into aeromicrobiology and calls for advancements in global-scale bioremediation, insights into ecology, climate change impacts, and pathogenicity transmittance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number168478
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - 20 Feb 2024


  • Aerobiology
  • Atmospheric sampling
  • Bioaerosols
  • Environmental microbiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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