Fluorescence picks up bioaerosols
Recent bioterrorism threats have renewed interest in developing effective ways of monitoring bioaerosols. Taiwanese researchers have combined flow cytometry with a fluorescent technique to determine the concentration and viability of bacterial and fungal bioaerosols in environmental air and water samples.
YOPRO-1 stained E. coli visualised using epifluorescence microscopy
They discovered that two dyes (SYTO-13 and YOPRO-1) were particularly effective at monitoring bioaerosols including Escherichia coli. The researchers validated the method using air and water samples from the aeration tank of a hospital wastewater treatment plant.
The technique has the advantages of improved accuracy and speed over traditional culture and microscopic methods that have limited use in routine monitoring because of their time consuming and operator-dependent nature.
Future work will focus on extending the optimised technique for microorganism and bioaerosol monitoring in different environments.
P S Chen and C S Li, J. Environ. Monit., 2005 (DOI: 10.1039/b505224f)