Re ECF Project: ECF 2015-89

Project Title: What makes an odorous air conditioning system in Hong Kong?

Applicant: Dr LAI Ka Man, Hong Kong Baptist University

Total Approved Grant: $496,240 (ECF & WWGF: 50/50)

Duration: 1/5/2016 to 30/4/2018

Project Status/Remarks: On-going

The purpose of this project is to investigate the reason and mechanism causing urine-like and foot odour emission in air-cooling units and explore ways to prevent and control it. It is a laboratory and field based study focusing on the microbiological aspect of air-cooling units. The PI has collected special bacterial species from odour-reported and no odour units. High ammonium levels were recorded in the units during the PI's site visits. Preliminary laboratory analysis supports the hypothesis that a high level of ammonium can be produced by some bacteria under certain nutritional and environmental conditions. To better understand the detailed mechanism of odour production and determine effective control measures, the project aims to :
(1) identify the odour-causing bacteria and pathway;
(2) determine the inhibitory factors for these bacteria and pathways;
(3) study the formation and inter-relationship of the bacterial communities; and
(4) apply the findings in the field study and test the effectiveness of different control measures.

Summary of the Findings/Outcomes:
To be available upon completion of the project