African Dust and Microbial Pathogens Essay example

African Dust and Microbial Pathogens Essay example

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The atmosphere is a relatively unexplored and unthought of environment for a microbial habitat. Approximately 0.5 to 5.0 billion tons of dust travels in the atmosphere each year throughout the globe or within a particular region (Perkins, 2001). Dust is transported from Africa, other countries with large deserts and contains diverse microbial communities (bacteria and fungi) often containing pathogens. Data presented within the current and past century has shown that microbes are capable of withstanding environments exposing them to desiccation, UV, and other physical stresses, making them a good candidate for airborne global travel. Knowledge of these various microbes is increasing due to concerns over human health and oceanic diseases affecting our coral reef systems. Biological outbreaks have occurred numerously since 1970 and some think this could be partially due to particulate matter and the microbes associated with it. It is known that coral health has been in decline from anthropogenic affects but there is still a question unknown: why is the presence of coral disease happening on a widespread geographic level often far from human impact? A proposed hypothesis is that diseases are caused by African and Asian dust transported to the Caribbean. There is also rising concern with microbial dust containing human pathogens, allergens and infections. Alternative hypothesis are conjured as a counter argument that African dust may not be the only source of disease, human and coral related. Both are important to keep in consideration for research purposes because scientists need to consider all factors in regards to treating, originating and finding mechanisms of disease transport.
African dust has become a bigger problem due t...


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...ll University 2008.

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