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:: Section 3 of 10

Viable Bioaerosols: Microbiological Focus

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Eukaryotes are more complex organisms than prokaryotes. As such, eukaryotic microorganisms tend to be larger than prokaryotes. While prokaryotes exist only as microorganisms, eukaryotes exist as both microorganisms, such as fungi and protozoa, and highly complex organisms, such as plants and animals. In eukaryotes, DNA exists inside the nucleus. Eukaryotes also have extra organelles that the prokaryotes do not, including mitochondria and chloroplasts. On the small end of the size spectrum, eukaryotic microorganisms include fungi (such as mold and yeast), protozoa (such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia), and algae. Similar to prokaryotes, certain species of eukaryotes also have the ability to produce spores as means of propagation or under adverse conditions.

A schematic of a eukaryotic cell is shown in the figure below. Note how much more complex it is in comparison to the prokaryotic cell shown in the previous section.

Figure 5: Schematic of a eukaryotic cell.2

Although they are non-viable bioaerosols, more complex eukaryotic organisms can also serve as the source of bioaerosols. Pollen and dander from plants and animals are common examples.

For more information on the components of the eukaryotic cell, please check out

2Figure courtesy of Tim Sheppard,, What is a cell?