Authors:Paola Pollegioni, Claudia Mattioni, Martina Ristorini, Donatella Occhiuto, Silvia Canepari, Maria V. Korneykova, Olga Gavrichkova


  • Research Institute on Terrestrial Ecosystems, National Research Council, 05010 Porano, Italy
  • Department of Bioscience and Territory, University of Molise, 86090 Pesche, Italy
  • Agenzia Regionale Protezione Ambiente del Lazio, 00187 Rome, Italy
  • Department of Chemistry, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy
  • Agro-Technology Institute, Peoples Friendship University of Russia, 117198 Moscow, Russia
  • Institute of the North Industrial Ecology Problems, Kola Science Centre of Russian Academy of Sciences, 184209 Apatity, Russia

Publication: Atmosphere

Date: December 2021

Full paper: Diversity and Source of Airborne Microbial Communities at Differential Polluted Sites of Rome


Biogenic fraction of airborne PM10 which includes bacteria, viruses, fungi and pollens, has been proposed as one of the potential causes of the PM10 toxicity. The present study aimed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the microbial community variations associated to PM10, and their main local sources in the surrounding environment in three urban sites of Rome, characterized by differential pollution rate: green area, residential area and polluted area close to the traffic roads. We combined high-throughput amplicon sequencing of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene and the fungal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region, with detailed chemical analysis of particulate matter sampled from air, paved road surfaces and leaf surfaces of Quercus ilex. Our results demonstrated that bacterial and fungal airborne communities were characterized by the highest alpha-diversity and grouped separately from epiphytic and road dust communities. The reconstruction of source-sink relationships revealed that the resuspension/deposition of road dust from traffic might contribute to the maximum magnitude of microbial exchanges. The relative abundance of extremotolerant microbes was found to be enhanced in epiphytic communities and was associated to a progressively increase of pollution levels as well as opportunistic human pathogenicity in fungal communities