Unit 4.II.2 Bioaerosols

In Germany, several million employees conduct tasks in which they directly use biological agents or may be exposed to them as a result of their tasks. The legal term "biological agents" includes in particular bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites, but also cell cultures, which may pose risks through infection or sensitising and toxic effects. The variety ranges from harmless baker's yeast to the deadly Ebola virus.

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in particular has shown how relevant research of bioaerosol exposures is in occupational safety and health. But bioaerosols do not only play a role from the perspective of infection risks. The development of chronic respiratory diseases in workplaces is associated with exposures to high concentrations of complex bioaerosols. Therefore, the analysis of health risks emanating from bioaerosols, but also the evaluation of appropriate measures in occupational safety and health represent particular challenges which are being addressed in the interests of employee health protection within the framework of research within the BAuA.

The main tasks of Unit 4.II.2 "Bioaerosols" therefore include the implementation of research projects, knowledge transfer and policy advice.

In detail these are the

  • Development of analysis methods and strategies for the qualitative and quantitative determination of bioaerosol components at the workplace
  • Carrying out field studies to record bioaerosols at selected workplaces with complex mixed exposures
  • Development and validation of in vitro methods for the detection of the toxic potential of bioaerosols and biological agents, implementation in the context of classification and labelling at national and European level
  • Further development, quality assurance and advice on measuring strategies and methods for determining biological agents in the workplace
  • Derivation of health-relevant measurement parameters to improve risk assessment
  • Technical participation in the Committee on Biological Agents (ABAS)
  • Training of biology laboratory technicians and advanced students
  • Participation in university teaching and promotion of young academics

Further Information


Dr Dierk-Christoph Pöther

Head of
Unit 4.II.2 Bioaerosols

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