Collection of airborne bacteria and yeast through water-based condensational growth
One limitation in air sampling of airborne microorganisms is their inactivation by forceful impaction and/or dehydration during the collection process. Proper inhalation risk assessments require proof of viability, as non-viable microorganisms cannot cause infectious diseases. In this study, laboratory-generated aerosols of a vegetative bacterium (E. coli) or yeast (S. kudriavzevii) were collected by a laminar-flow water-based condensational “growth tube collector (GTC),” and the GTC’s collection efficiencies were compared with those using an industry standard BioSampler. Collection efficiencies resulting from two types of collection media, phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) and nutrient media (Nutrient Broth, NB, for E. coli, and Yeast Tryptone Glucose Broth, YTGB, for S. kudriavzevii) were also assessed. Both the GTC and the BioSampler performed equally when PBS was used as the collection medium for E. coli, whereas more viable E. coli cells were collected in the GTC than the BioSampler with NB. For S. kudriavzevii, the GTC outperformed the BioSampler using either PBS or YTGB. This is likely because aerosolized E. coli cells can better survive impaction than S. kudriavzevii under the conditions used, and the BioSampler has a much higher collection efficiency for particles in the size range of single-celled E. coli than S. kudriavzevii. Moreover, the GTC had a detection limit one order of magnitude lower for yeast aerosols compared with that of the BioSampler. These results indicate that the GTC is a promising device for sampling viable aerosolized gram-negative bacteria and yeast, as it is less damaging to these types of microorganisms during the collection process.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10453-018-9517-7
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