Human aerosol particle emission

In this research project, human emission of aerosol particles is studied. Human aerosol particles are very important in the spread of airborne diseases. Human aerosol particles are generated by various mechanisms and at different locations in the respiratory tract. Aerosol particle-generating activities include talking and singing, where aerosol particles are generated primarily in the mouth and throat; coughing, where aerosol particles are generated by high velocities in the upper respiratory tract; and also normal breathing, as collapsed airways are drawn open during inhalation and aerosol particles are generated by film rupture. Aerosol particle emission between different individuals can vary greatly, so different studies examine different influencing factors. Influencing factors investigated include activity (rest / endurance / resistance exercise) age, sex, body mass index, lung function, and training status of the subjects. The measured variables in these studies are aerosol particle concentration (particles/volume) and ventilation rate (respiratory volume/time).

To exclude environmental influences, the aerosol particle concentration is measured in a clean room tent directly in the exhaled air of the test subjects using an optical particle counter. The oscillation from inspiration and expiration is compensated by a volume compensation container. By measuring the ventilation rate of the test persons simultaneously to the aerosol particle concentration, the aerosol particle emission (particles / time) can be determined. This quantity is an important parameter for estimating the risk of infection in indoor environments, for example, together with the room size and the fresh air supply. In addition to the number of aerosol particles, the aerosol particle size is measured.



  • Professorship of Exercise Biology, Technical University of Munich
  • Institute and Polyclinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich


Person in charge:

  • Dr. Benedikt Schumm



  • German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • Bundesinstitut für Sportwissenschaft



  • Mutsch B, Heiber M, Grätz F, Hain R, Schönfelder M, Kaps S, Schranner D, Kähler CJ, Wackerhage H (2022) Aerosol particle emission increases exponentially above moderate exercise intensity resulting in superemission during maximal exercise. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 119 (22), e2202521119 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2202521119.
  • Schumm B, Heiber M, Grätz F, Stabile L, Buonanno G, Schönfelder M, Hain R, Kähler CJ, Wackerhage H (2023) Respiratory aerosol particle emission and simulated infection risk is greater during indoor endurance than resistance exercise. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 120 (9), e2220882120 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2220882120.
  • Schumm B, Bremer S, Knödlseder K, Schönfelder M, Hain R, Semmler L, Lorenz E, Jörres R, Wackerhage H, Kähler CJ (2023) Lung aerosol particle emission increases with age at rest and during exercise. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 120 (22) e2301145120 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2301145120.