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Indoor Air. 2006 Jun;16(3):216-26.

Particle size distributions and concentrations of airborne endotoxin using novel collection methods in homes during the winter and summer seasons.

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Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA.


A comparison study of novel collection methods for airborne bacteria and endotoxin was performed in an environmentally controlled chamber and in pilot-field studies. Airborne particulate matter was collected in swirling liquid impingers, air-monitoring filter cassettes, and with a micro-orifice uniform deposit impactor (MOUDI) to evaluate aerodynamic particle size distributions. Environmentally controlled chamber studies showed that impingers and MOUDI recovered significantly more airborne bacteria than filter cassettes, whereas collection methods for airborne endotoxin were not significantly different. In addition, total airborne bacteria and endotoxin concentrations were measured indoors and outdoors at three homes in Boulder, CO during winter and summer seasons. Indoor concentrations collected with the three different samplers were significantly different for airborne endotoxin, but not for airborne bacteria. Total airborne bacteria indoors and outdoors significantly varied with seasons. Outdoor airborne endotoxin significantly varied with season; no seasonal variation was seen for indoor airborne endotoxin. Indoor and outdoor levels were not significantly different for both airborne bacteria and endotoxin. The largest proportion of endotoxin was associated with airborne particulate matter <1 microm.


This study compared sampling methods for airborne endotoxin, a potent and nonspecific immune system stimulant which can induce negative health responses. The data from this study showed that swirling liquid impingers and the micro-orifice uniform deposit impactor (MOUDI) recovered significantly more airborne endotoxin than the more widely adapted method of collecting airborne endotoxin on membrane filters, when collection methods were applied in realistic settings (homes). The MOUDI measured the particle size distribution of airborne endotoxin, which can be useful for determining endotoxin respiratory toxicity and its health effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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