Evaluation of a high-volume portable bioaerosol sampler in laboratory and field environments

H. R. An, G. Mainelis, M. Yao

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53 Scopus citations


This study investigated the physical and biological performances of a portable centrifugal sampler for viable bioaerosols, RCS High Flow. The performance of the test sampler in the laboratory and field environments was compared with that of a reference sampler, BioSampler. The laboratory experiments with non-biological particles of KCl, oleic acid, and polystyrene latex showed that the test sampler's collection efficiency is about 22% for 0.5-μm particles, 48% for 1.0-μm particles, and approximately 100% for particles of 2.5 μm and larger. These tests indicated that the sampler's cut-off size (d50) was 1.1 μm. The test sampler's physical performance when collecting the spores and vegetative cells of Bacillus subtilis var. niger (BG) was similar to that when collecting non-biological particles of the same size. In the laboratory tests, the RCS High Flow sampler was found to enumerate approximately 40% of BG spores and cells relative to the reference sampler, BioSampler. A similar ratio was found during testing in an indoor environment. This ratio decreased to below 10% when testing was performed in an outdoor environment. We hypothesize that the test sampler's underperformance compared with the BioSampler could be caused by the damage to sensitive microorganisms during the collection process, test sampler's sensitivity to wind direction and speed as well as break-up of particle aggregates during the impingement process in BioSampler, which resulted in more colony-forming units (CFUs) being counted by the reference sampler than by the test sampler. Overall, when the RCS High Plus is used to sample culturable airborne microorganisms, the results obtained may have to be adjusted to avoid potential underestimation of microorganism concentration in the air.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-393
Number of pages9
JournalIndoor Air
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • BioSampler
  • Bioaerosols
  • Collection efficiency
  • RCS High Flow sampler


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