How much germs (bacteria, fungi) exist in the air ?

Stefan Eichler Stefan.Eichler at ruhr-uni-bochum.de
Thu Jul 30 11:53:29 EST 1998

Actually, I expected that the majority of bacteria in soil or air are inactive,
too. But, my problem arises from a immunological phenomenon present in
hematophagous insects:
3 weeks after a bloodmeal, the reduviid bug <Rhodnius prolixus> exhibits a
higher lysozymal activity in the intestinal tract than shortly after engorging
blood. It is suggested that the lysozyme titre is that high because - in
preparation for the moulting process - they 'ingest' air and must therefore
avoid infections with bacteria they take up together with the air. But - and now
for the problem - to ensure their supply with symbionts, these bugs show a
coprophagic behaviour mainly shortly after the blood meal but not 3 weeks later.
They ingest some fecal material originating from other specimens and so easily
could become infected with contaminating bacteria inhabitating the soil. So, if
there should be more microorganisms inhabitating the soil - actually that's what
I expect - should not the lysozymal activity reach its peak shortly after the
blood meal and not 3 weeks later ?
Therefore, I'm looking for information concerning the ratio of germs existing in
soil and air, to make sure that the chance to get contaminated during coprophagy
is higher than via the ingestion of air.

> Steve,
>     I have no idea about how many bacteria inhabit the soil or air.  I can
> tell you that bacterial concentrations in rivers/streams are in the vicinity
> of millions/ml.  Although this number seems high, the majority of them are
> inactive and will not cause any harm.
>                                                                 Tommy
> tdenson at netdoor.com

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