Measuring Intrinsic Fluorescence Of Airborne Particles For Real-Time Monitoring Of Viable Bioaerosols

Agranovski, Victoria (2004) Measuring Intrinsic Fluorescence Of Airborne Particles For Real-Time Monitoring Of Viable Bioaerosols. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Development of the advanced, real-time methods for monitoring of bioaerosols is becoming increasingly important. At present, the Ultraviolet Aerodynamic Particle Sizer (UVAPS, Model 3312, TSI, St. Paul., MN) is the only commercially available method for in-situ, continuous measurements of viable airborne microorganisms. Research included in this thesis aimed towards comprehensive evaluation of the method over a wide range of operating conditions, linking the experimental results to

the theoretical basis of its design and operation, and to developing a scientific basis

for its application to real-time monitoring of bioaerosols. Specifically, due to a growing concern in the general community about the environmental and health aspects of biological aerosols originated from various types of agricultural operations including animal farming, this research was focussed on developing a research methodology/strategy for applying the method to the investigation of bioaerosols in the swine confinement buildings (SCB).

Investigations under controlled laboratory conditions were primarily concerned with

selectivity, sensitivity, counting efficiency, and detection limits of the spectrometer.

This study also examined the effect of physiological state (metabolic activity) of

bacteria on the performance characteristics of the method. The practical implications of the research findings are discussed in this thesis. Further field investigations undertaken on a pig farm advanced understanding of the UVAPS performance in the real-life environmental settings. The research also provided a new insight on the particle size distribution and the effect of on-farm-activities on aerosol load inside the SCBs, for both biological and non-biological aerosols.

This study has proved that the UVAPS is a powerful tool for investigation of viable bioaerosols in the environment. However, this method is limited to detection of active metabolising bacteria that excludes dormant bacterial spores. In addition, the method is very sensitive to physiological state of bacteria and to the effect of adverse environmental conditions on metabolic activity of airborne bacteria, which may decrease the amount of the intrinsic fluorophores in the cells below sensitivity level iv of the monitor. Possible limitations of this technology include also the lack of selectivity and thus interferences from the non-microbial organic components of airborne particles. In addition, the sensitivity of the method is insufficient for

monitoring viable bacteria in the environments with relatively low concentrations of bioaerosols. In order to increase sensitivity of the method, it would be desirable to concentrate the bioaerosols into a smaller volume with the aim of high-volume virtual impactors (aerosol concentrators) prior to the monitoring. Therefore, in the indoor environments where an application of the concentrator is not feasible, the utilisation of the UVAPS may be problematic. Due to the intrinsic limitations, the method is not recommended for the direct measurements of viable bioaerosols and should be used in conjunction with the conventional biosamplers for obtaining more realistic insights into the microbial air quality. Nevertheless, the UVAPS has been found to be an adequate method for the investigation of the dynamics of biological aerosols in real-time.

Overall, this thesis contributes to the advancing of the understanding of the method

and may assist in developing new, more advanced technologies for the real-time monitoring of viable bioaerosols, as well as in developing sampling strategies for the application of the method to various bioaerosol studies.

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ID Code: 16080
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Ristovski, Zoran, Hargreaves, Megan, & Morawska, Lidia
Keywords: Bioaerosols, real-time monitoring, performance evaluation, intrinsic fluorescence, counting efficiency, sensitivity, detection limits, viable bacteria, metabolic state, particle size distribution, swine confinement buildings
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > School of Physical & Chemical Sciences
Department: Faculty of Science
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Victoria Agranovski
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:56
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:42

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