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Applied and Environmental Microbiology



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Aerobiological monitoring was conducted in an experimental room to aid in the development of standardized sampling protocols for airborne microorganisms in the indoor environment. The objectives of this research were to evaluate the relative efficiencies of selected sampling methods for the retrieval of airborne fungal spores and to determine the effect of human activity on air sampling. Dry aerosols containing known concentrations of Penicillium chrysogenum spores were generated, and air samples were taken by using Andersen six-stage, Surface Air System, Burkard, and depositional samplers. The Andersen and Burkard samplers retrieved the highest numbers of spores compared with the measurement standard, an aerodynamic particle sizer located inside the room. Data from paired samplers demonstrated that the Andersen sampler had the highest levels of sensitivity and repeatability. With a carpet as the source of P. chrysogenum spores, the effects of human activity (walking or vacuuming near the sampling site) on air sampling were also examined. Air samples were taken under undisturbed conditions and after human activity in the room. Human activity resulted in retrieval of significantly higher concentrations of airborne spores. Surface sampling of the carpet revealed moderate to heavy contamination despite relatively low airborne counts. Therefore, in certain situations, air sampling without concomitant surface sampling may not adequately reflect the level of microbial contamination in indoor environments.


Environmental Public Health | Occupational Health and Industrial Hygiene

Publisher Citation

Buttner, M.P. and L.D. Stetzenbach. 1993. Monitoring of fungal spores in an experimental indoor environment to evaluate sampling methods and the effects of human activity on air sampling. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 59:219-226.

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