Observations on the use of membrane filtration and liquid impingement to collect airborne microorganisms in various atmospheric environments

Aerobiologia
By: , and 

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Abstract

The influence of sample-collection-time on the recovery of culturable airborne microorganisms using a low-flow-rate membrane-filtration unit and a high-flow-rate liquid impinger were investigated. Differences in recoveries were investigated in four different atmospheric environments, one mid-oceanic at an altitude of ~10.0 m, one on a mountain top at an altitude of ~3,000.0 m, one at ~1.0 m altitude in Tallahassee, Florida, and one at ~1.0 m above ground in a subterranean-cave. Regarding use of membrane filtration, a common trend was observed: the shorter the collection period, the higher the recovery of culturable bacteria and fungi. These data also demonstrated that lower culturable counts were common in the more remote mid-oceanic and mountain-top atmospheric environments with bacteria, fungi, and total numbers averaging (by sample time or method categories) <3.0 colony-forming units (CFU) m -3. At the Florida and subterranean sites, the lowest average count noted was 3.5 bacteria CFU m-3, and the highest averaged 140.4 total CFU m-3. When atmospheric temperature allowed use, the high-volume liquid impinger utilized in this study resulted in much higher recoveries, as much as 10?? greater in a number of the categories (bacterial, fungal, and total CFU). Together, these data illustrated that (1) the high-volume liquid impinger is clearly superior to membrane filtration for aeromicrobiology studies if start-up costs are not an issue and temperature permits use; (2) although membrane filtration is more cost friendly and has a 'typically' wider operational range, its limits include loss of cell viability with increased sample time and issues with effectively extracting nucleic acids for community-based analyses; (3) the ability to recover culturable microorganisms is limited in 'extreme' atmospheric environments and thus the use of a 'limited' methodology in these environments must be taken into account; and (4) the atmosphere culls, i.e., everything is not everywhere. ?? 2010 US Government.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Observations on the use of membrane filtration and liquid impingement to collect airborne microorganisms in various atmospheric environments
Series title Aerobiologia
DOI 10.1007/s10453-010-9173-z
Volume 27
Issue 1
Year Published 2011
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Aerobiologia
First page 25
Last page 35