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Biological contamination: what is it, types and examples

Have you heard of biological contamination but are not sure what it is? To understand this concept, we must first understand the concept of pollution: it refers to the introduction of substances or materials into the environment that can be of chemical, physical or biological origin. In this AgroCorrn article we will try to explain everything about contamination of biological origin, perhaps the most unknown of all. Although surely you sometimes hear news such as, for example, the increase in people who have been infected by a new coronavirus. Pay attention to the following lines to know better what is biological contamination, its types and examples .

  1. What is biological contamination
  2. Types of biological contamination
  3. Examples of biological contaminants
  4. Causes of biological contamination
  5. Consequences of biological contamination

What is biological contamination

Biological contamination is caused by organisms with a certain life cycle, during which, to carry out this cycle, they inhabit environments in which they are capable of degrading the quality of air, water, soil and food, being a great danger for living beings , being capable of causing infectious or parasitic diseases. Therefore, biological contamination occurs when an organism of this type infests an environment such as those mentioned, damaging many of the living beings that use these resources for their own life cycles.

Among these organisms responsible for biological contamination we highlight:

  • The bacteria.
  • Protozoa.
  • Mushrooms.
  • Helminths.
  • The virus.
  • Arthropods.

Types of biological contamination

Now that we have the concept of biological contamination somewhat clearer, we can move forward on this issue. Next, we detail the types of biological contamination that exist:

  • Biological contamination in water: water can contain decomposing organic matter and pathogenic microorganisms (protozoa, bacteria and viruses) that mainly come from wastewater , agricultural activities or industrial discharges.
  • Biological Air Pollution – Biological air pollutants can be found anywhere, whether it’s indoors or outdoors. Both people and animals leave viruses and bacteria that will affect other people and animals. Poor ventilation or relative humidity are factors that help the growth of biological contaminants.
  • Biological contamination in the soil: there are bacteria and viruses that also deteriorate the soil, since it also receives household waste, livestock activities, wastewater, etc.
  • Biological contamination in food: food can be affected by biological contaminants, which are any type of organism that alters the composition of the food, making it unfit for consumption.

Examples of biological contaminants

Biological contamination can be caused by different biological pollutants , which according to their nature are classified as:

  • Bacteria: pathogenic bacteria cause diseases such as pneumonia, or also food-related diseases such as salmonella.
  • Protozoa: they are simple unicellular microorganisms that cause diseases in humans. Many of the diseases caused by protozoa are malaria, amoebiasis, sleeping sickness.
  • Virus: acellular infectious agent that grows and develops within the cells of other organisms. They are the cause of a wide variety of diseases in plants, animals and humans, as well as AIDS, hepatitis, smallpox or measles.
  • Helminths: they are free-living worms or human parasites, when they are adults they cannot multiply in humans. These can cause diseases, some examples are tapeworms, worms or leeches.
  • Fungi: Fungi, unable to synthesize their own nutrients, are forced to live as parasites in living beings. Sometimes these fungi are harmless and do not cause any type of infection. However, pathogenic fungi can affect any organ, but the most frequent are superficial infections such as skin or nails.
  • Arthropods: within arthropods, mites can cause skin diseases in addition to acting as a source of allergens. Scabies is an infectious skin disease caused by the scabies mite.

Although we can also think about the classification of biological contaminants into four groups according to the infection risk index:

  • Group 1: in this group are those biological agents that are unlikely to cause disease in humans.
  • Group 2: this however includes those biological pathogens that can cause disease in humans, although there are effective treatments to treat it and they are not easily transmitted.
  • Group 3: Biological pathogens found in this group can cause serious illness as well as spread, but there are generally effective treatments. The bacteria that cause tuberculosis or the hepatitis or AIDS viruses are examples.
  • Group 4: in this group are the most dangerous pathogens that spread very easily and generally there are no effective treatments.

Causes of biological contamination

Biological contamination is caused by discharges of pollutants that can be found in solid, liquid or gaseous states. They generally come from the processes that occur in:

  • Industries of various kinds.
  • Microbiological laboratories.
  • Food production.
  • The agrarian workers.
  • Health work, especially in hospitals.
  • Waste disposal.
  • Waste water treatment.
  • Any activity that has contact with living beings.

It must be taken into account that conditions such as the presence of nutrients, humidity and temperature must be met so that the activity of biological pollutants is favored. If you want to know more about the causes of biological and other types of contamination in the environments in which it occurs, we recommend that you consult these other articles:

Consequences of biological contamination

Biological contamination, in short, causes a large number of diseases to living beings of any kind and, in addition, they are very varied diseases. Thanks to the advancement of medicine, today, we can treat most diseases caused by biological pollutants . Although it is true that new pollutants continue to appear and that it is not always easy to deal with them or find prevention methods or cures.

This topic is to reflect on the importance of trying to contaminate our environment as little as possible, because depending on where you live and your economic possibilities, it will be easier for you to be treated to face the disease or not.

If you want to read more articles similar to Biological contamination: what it is, types and examples , we recommend that you enter our Pollution category .

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Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

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