Method to determine the number of bacterial spores within aerosol particles

Monica Carrera, Jana Kesavan, Ruben Zandomeni, Jose Luis Sagripanti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


We describe methodology to reveal the number of microbial spores within aerosol particles. The procedure involves visualization under differential- interference-contrast microscopy enhanced by high-resolution photography and further analysis by computer-assisted imaging. The method was used to analyze spore of Bacillus globigii in aerosols generated by a small (pressured metered-dose inhaler type) generator. Particles consisting in 1 or 2 spores accounted for 85% of all generated particles. This percentage rose to 91% when the same aerosol was collected on an Andersen cascade impactor that collected particles larger than 0.65 μm and was even higher (96%) when particles larger than 3.3 μm were also eliminated. These results demonstrate that the imaging analysis of aerosol particles collected on glass slides is sensitive to even relatively small changes in aerosol particle composition. The accuracy of the enhanced microscopic method described herein (differences between visual and computer analysis were approximately 3% of the total particle counts) seems adequate to determine the spore composition of aerosols of interest in biodefense.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)960-965
Number of pages6
JournalAerosol Science and Technology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Pollution


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