Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have developed a low-cost, simple, portable Electrostatic Sampling Device (ESD) that can be used for high efficiency sampling of airborne bacteria, viruses, and spores. The compact, lightweight device is battery operated and is housed in a waterproof enclosure. It can be easily spray disinfected following use in highly infectious areas. The ESD can be used as an affordable and sensitive method for detecting pathogenic microorganism strains, which may be present in small amounts in animal housing or processing areas and are difficult to recover using traditional methods such as drag swabs or serum samples. The unit can be operated for about 16 hours with two standard 9-volt batteries.
Previous devices with good to high efficiency recovery were typically large and bulky, difficult to disinfect, or expensive—ranging in price from $1,000 up to $25,000 each. ARS tests using the device have shown it to collect as much as 20 times more bacteria than settling plates, and as much or more bacteria as the more commonly used impaction sampler. Preliminary ESD tests with naturally generated viruses have shown that samples transferred to a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test allowed for consistent virus identification.
The potential market for the ESD should be worldwide with applications ranging from routine monitoring of poultry and livestock to eidemiology, to processing areas, hospitals, monitoring of public areas for potential bio-terrorism attack, and routine air quality surveys in office areas, schools, etc.
Please refer to patent application S.N. 10/670,575 (Docket #0219.02), “High Efficiency Electrostatic Air Sampler,” which was filed on September 26, 2003. Foreign rights are available.
Bailey W. Mitchell Richard K. Gast
Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory Same as first inventor
Athens, GA 30605 (706) 546-3445 / Fax: (706) 546-3161
(706) 546-3443 / Fax: (706) 546-3161 email@example.com