The Effect of Ionization on the Air Quality in a Horse Stable
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Horses kept in stables are likely to be exposed to high levels of organic dust. Organic dust plays a role in increased risk of inflammatory reactions and is associated with respiratory diseases. There are multiple ways to decrease the amount of organic dust in the horse stable, of which the most common are a change in bedding and feeding regime and an increase in natural ventilation. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the ionization of air on dust, endotoxin and fungus in horse stables , and the differences between those levels in stables with horses kept on shavings eating haylage and stables with horses kept on straw eating dry hay. Four units (96m2 each) of six boxes were used. Each unit was equipped with an ionization installation, composed of a ionizationbox connected to electricity network, 3 corona wires and 4 earthed wires (all wires had a length of 12m). In 2 units, horses were kept on shavings and were fed haylage and in the other 2 units horses were kept on straw and were fed dry hay. Ambient inhalable dust samples were collected on a fixed, similar position within each unit. Samples were taken in each unit with and without activated ionization and during daytime and during nighttime, repeatedly over the course of a week. In addition, sampling was performed on 5 different positions in each stable unit to verify if there are locations within stable units that have consistent higher dust levels than other locations. The dust samples were analyzed for endotoxin by the Limulus Amebocyte Lysate assay. Culturable fungi were collected with an Anderson impactor on DG-18 Agar plates, with a sampling time of 30 seconds per sample. 156 samples were examined for dust levels and 154 samples were examined for endotoxin levels. Highest dust and endotoxins levels were found in the units where the horses were kept on straw, being fed dry hay. Comparing day and night, higher dust and endotoxins levels were found during daytime. 86 samples were taken for the examination of growth of fungal colonies. Samples taken in straw units showed higher growth of fungal colonies than samples taken in units where horses were kept on shavings. Nighttime sampling showed less fungal growth than daytime sampling. No difference in dust, endotoxins or fungal growth were found when ionization was activated. Dust, endotoxins and fungal spores do tend to be significantly lower in stables where horses are being kept on shavings, being fed with haylage, compared to stables where they are being kept on straw and being fed with hay.