Assessment of the microbial contamination of mechanical protection gloves used on waste sorting industry: a contribution for the risk characterization

Carla Viegas, Magdalena Twarużek, Marta Dias, Beatriz Almeida, Elisabete Carolino, Robert Kosicki, Ewelina Soszczyńska, Jan Grajewski, Liliana Aranha Caetano, Susana Viegas

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19 Citations (Scopus)


In Portugal, mechanical protection gloves (MPG) are of mandatory use and during their use sweat is released and, consequently, the humidity of the material increases leading to conditions favorable to the growth of microorganisms. However, no studies have been conducted in MPG to assess the bioburden. This study intended to determine the bioburden present in MPG and their biological effects, and to discuss the possibility to use MPG as a passive method to assess occupational exposure to microbial contamination. Fungal burden was characterized through molecular tools for fungal toxigenic species, and antifungal resistance and mycotoxins profiles were determined. Cell viability was determined in swine kidney (SK) monolayer and hepatocellular carcinoma (Hep G2) cell lines. All MPG samples presented Gram-negative bacteria. The fungal contamination ranged from 0 CFU.m−2 in both MEA and DG18, to 5.09 × 106 and 2.75 × 106 and the most commonly fungi found was Aspergillus spp. (50.46%). Azole resistant Aspergillus sections were found in azole supplemented media. Aspergillus sections (Circumdati, Flavi, Fumigati and Versicolores) were detected by molecular tools in 66 out of 67 samples. The most reported mycotoxin was mycophenolic acid (89.6%). HepG2 cells appear to be more sensitive to MPG contamination, with high cytotoxicity (IC50 < 0.05 mm2/ml) observed for 18 out of 57 gloves. MPG can be used in passive sampling to assess occupational exposure to bioburden in waste sorting industries and contribute for risk characterization. Some contaminants of MPG had cytotoxic potential and affected the biology of hepatic cells more than renal cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109881
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Aspergillus spp.
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma cell line
  • Mechanical protection gloves
  • Microbial contamination
  • Mycotoxins
  • Swine kidney monolayer cell line


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