BackgroundLow environmental air quality is a significant cause of mortality and morbidity and this question is now emerging as a main concern of governmental authorities. Airborne pollution results from the combination of chemicals, fine particles, and micro-organisms quantitatively or qualitatively dangerous for health or for the environment. Increasing regulations and limitations for outdoor air quality have been decreed in regards to chemicals and particles contrary to micro-organisms. Indeed, pertinent and reliable tests to evaluate this biohazard are scarce. In this work, our purpose was to evaluate the Caenorhaditis elegans killing test, a model considered as an equivalent to the mouse acute toxicity test in pharmaceutical industry, in order to monitor air bacterial quality.FindingsThe present study investigates the bacterial population in dust clouds generated during crop ship loading in harbor installations (Rouen harbor, Normandy, France). With a biocollector, airborne bacteria were impacted onto the surface of agar medium. After incubation, a replicate of the colonies on a fresh agar medium was done using a velvet. All the replicated colonies were pooled creating the "Total Air Sample". Meanwhile, all the colonies on the original plate were isolated. Among which, five representative bacterial strains were chosen. The virulence of these representatives was compared to that of the "Total Air Sample" using the Caenorhaditis elegans killing test. The survival kinetic of nematodes fed with the "Total Air Sample" is consistent with the kinetics obtained using the five different representatives strains.ConclusionsBacterial air quality can now be monitored in a one shot test using the Caenorhaditis elegans killing test.