Department of Biology
Skin squames contribute to ammonia and volatile fatty acid production from bacteria colonizing in air-cooling units with odor complaints
One of the most notable Indoor Air Quality problems is odor emission. This study investigated the potential contribution of skin squames to the production of ammonia (NH3) and volatile organic acids (VFAs) by 7 bacteria isolated from air-cooling (AC) units with complaints of urine and body odors. Our previous study showed that keratinolytic activity is higher in AC units with odor complaints than those without. In the offices where these units are located, the most likely source of keratins is from human skin squames. Most bacteria can produce NH3 and VFAs in the skin squame culture. Some correlations between the levels of NH3, , VFAs, and keratinolytic activity were found. The odor production pathway with skin squames was proposed. Staphylococcus haemolyticus was abundant in the AC units with odor problems and had a high level of keratinolytic activity in addition to odor production. For long-term odor control, it is important to reduce the level of skin squames entering the AC units.
air-conditioning, ammonia, building microbiology, Indoor Air Quality, odor control, skin squames, volatile fatty acids
Source Publication Title
This research was funded by the Environment and Conservation Fund (ref: 89/2015)
Link to Publisher's Edition
Ng, T. W., P. Y. Chan, T. T. Chan, H. Wu, and K. M. Lai. "Skin squames contribute to ammonia and volatile fatty acid production from bacteria colonizing in air-cooling units with odor complaints." Indoor Air (2017).