Indoor climate of livestock buildings and airborne emissions

One of the foci of our work is on airborne emission, like odour, gases, dust and bioaerosols coming from agricultural sources, e.g. factory farms, biogas plants, carcass disposals, and their health effects. Aside from their environmental impact, these emissions are especially important in agricultural animal husbandry in order to be able to characterise the dispersal of germs and the transmission of diseases between stables (e.g. Newcastle disease, foot-and-mouth disease, avian influenza virus). The focus in airborne emissions is on the investigation of substances with a non-linear dose-effect relationship. For this kind of substances, like odourants, germs and toxic gases, we have developed a dispersion model which allows one to assess the biological effects of these emissions. For odourants, we also developed methods which allow for risk assessment. In this area, we are in cooperation with VDI, the Association of German Engineers (Prof. Hartung), KTBL, the German board for technique and construction in agriculture (Dr. Grimm), Purdue University (Prof. Heber) and the University of Missouri (Prof. Lim).

Currently, we work on these issues:

  • Development of a stochastic approach for the generation of emission time series, based on Monte-Carlo models.                 
  • Application of inverse dispersal calculations on the determination of emission parameters
  • Impacts of in-stationary emission scenarios on the biological assessment of immissions based on non-linear dose-effect relations
  • Improvement of the immission-risk estimates through weighing of occurring immissions
  • Simulations of stable climates (temperature, humiditiy, aereal chemical parameters (e.g. NH3, CO2, odourants)

In the future, we will also work on biotropic emissions, like endocrine disruptors, antibiotics and their residuals, as well as on bioaerosols. Thereby, the holistic view of agricultural animal husbandry with regards to its effects on the biosphere is taken into account.

We currently have a strategic partnership with the Department for Environmental Metereology (Dr. Piringer) of the ZAMG, the Central Institution for Meteorology and Geodynamics in Vienna, which manifests itself in the “Interessensgemeinschaft Geruch” (igG, interest group smell; website: 1).