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SKC Guide to Sampling Particles of Biological Origin

Bioaerosol contamination is a growing concern in today's indoor environments. Because contamination may be hard to detect by sight or smell, a thorough evaluation may be necessary to positively confirm its presence and initiate an investigation into the possible source. Evaluation may involve the collection of bulk, air, and/or wipe samples followed by analysis at a qualified environmental microbiology laboratory. Samples are collected using a variety of sampling techniques.

Use this simple guide to help you determine which sampler meets your application.

Principle of Operation
Flow Rate
Sampler Advantages Sampler Limitations
SKC BioSampler
Collection into swirling liquid 12.5
(sonic flow)
Fungi (viable and non-viable), endotoxins, and bacteria Maintains constant collection efficiency over 8 hours

Reduces particle bounce and re-aerosolization; preserves viability
Less efficient collection of hydrophobic bacteria and fungal spores in water-based collection liquids
SKC Button Sampler
Button Sampler
Filtration using porous membrane 4
Fungi (viable and non-viable), endotoxins, and bacteria Superior collection uniformity

Low sensitivity to ambient conditions

Sample suitable for viable and non-viable analysis

Personal bioaerosol sampling

Limited viability with standard filters
BioStage Single-stage Impactors
Impaction onto culture media 28.3

(BioStage 200)
Fungi (viable) and bacteria SureLock positive seal

Organisms remain intact and viable

Cost effective and reuseable

Time-proven collection method

Meets NIOSH Methods 0800 and 0801
Particle blow off/bounce

Particle impaction

Short sample times

VersaTrap Spore Trap Cassette
Impaction onto sticky glass slide 15

Fungi (viable and non-viable), pollen, and fibers

Reduces particle bounce

Prevents sample loss and blurring

Allows direct quantitative analysis

Enumeration of fungal spores with low culturability
Particle blow off/bounce

Slide overload

Short sample times
Sterile Surface Swab Kit
Sterile Swab Kit
Wipe sample N/A Fungi (viable and non-viable) and bacteria Easy to use

Suitable for growth culture


Collects surface contaminants
Samples must be handled aseptically

Multiple samples should be taken

Re-aerosolization of microbes

Wall Inspector Kit
Impaction onto
sticky glass slide
Fungi (viable and non-viable),
pollen, and fibers
Reduces particle bounce

Enumeration of fungal spores with low culturability

Non-destructive sampling of wall cavities


Lift tape surface sample N/A Fungi, pollen, and fibers

Ensures consistent sample area

Serialized for sample identification

Includes transport case for mailing to lab

Possible secondary contamination of sample
Carpet Sampling Cassettes
Carpet Sampling Cassettes
Filtration using porous membrane 10
Fungi and fibers Easy to use

Suitable for high flows to enhance detection

Microvacuum nozzle for efficient sampling in carpeting

Limited viability

This page was last modified May 6, 2013
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