In pig production aerial contaminates are potential hazards for animal and human health. To improve animal health and to reduce antibiotic treatement, next to preventive measures and high biosecurity standards stable climate should be improved. In this study effects of fogging a low-dose tartaric acid solution (0.1 %) on pigs health, environmental and hygiene parameters were examined in an inhabited fattening unit.
Pigs were housed in separate units (control group: n = 109, experimental group: n = 110). During the whole fattening period two times a week in a 48 hours interval tartaric acid solution was fogged using the prototype of a cold-fogging machine for 20 minutes in the experimental unit. Environmental parameters were measured on days of fogging. Sedimentation dust and stable surfaces were analysed for bacterial and fungal load. Dust particle size distribution in air was evaluated. Pigs were clinically examined weekly. At the abattoir lung alterations were quantified on an individual level.
Fogging had no influence on ammonia concentrations. A significant reduction of moulds but not of bacteria was found in sedimentation dust. The bacterial and mould scores of surface samples were significantly improved by fogging the cleaning agent. A significant reduction of inhalable dust particles in size classes 1,6-2,0 µm, 4,0-5,0 µm, 7,5-10 µm and 10-15 µm was observed. The high operating noise of the fogging-machine (82-102 dB) led to higher activity of the pigs and was assessed as a stressor by the observers. More skin alterations, conjunctivitis and sneezing were recorded in the experimental group. Lung alterations did not differ significantly between both groups.
Although fogging of tartaric acid is limited to a concentration of 0,1 % due to its irritating effect on the respiratory mucosa, and although the aerosol was not distributed homogenously within the air volume during fogging, a reduction of the microbial load was achieved by the approach described here. Reduction of microorganisms may be more prominent if technical conditions of the fogging machine would be improved. In empty stables it is possible to apply higher concentrations of tartaric acid solution in order to reduce microbial load before pigs enter the stable. The signifcant reduction of moulds and inhalable dust particles can contribute to an improvement of animal health and also the health of swine farmers and veterinarians working in livestock production.