I wonder if it is possible to measure the concentration of airborne pathogens in a specific indoor space in order to extract a percentage value. This value would be helpful to determine specific infection control strategies that would decrease this percentage and improve the indoor air quality.


I have no idea how practical it would be for your intended application, but people do estimate airborne concentrations of fungi and bacteria by sampling aerosols (i.e., filtering a volume of area to extract dust etc. that can carry the target organisms) and then using quantitative PCR with primers targeted at generic fungal or bacterial DNA sequences to estimate concentrations of particular classes of organisms.

Luhung, Irvan, Yan Wu, Chun Kiat Ng, Dana Miller, Bin Cao, and Victor Wei-Chung Chang. “Protocol Improvements for Low Concentration DNA-Based Bioaerosol Sampling and Analysis.” PLoS ONE 10, no. 11 (November 30, 2015). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0141158.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your reply, I want to monitor the concentration of airborne pathogens in order to test alternatives of infection control strategies within the built environment and state how these modifications affect the concentration of airborne pathogens. I have searched for several methods such as using tracer gases, using electron capture detectors, or using biosensors, however, I need something which is more practically available and could detect the concentration precisely. $\endgroup$ – Mohamed Said Aug 29 '19 at 22:09
  • $\begingroup$ unfortunately, I can't help any more; my answer pretty much says what I know about this topic - I'm an ecologist, not an environmental DNA person. Sounds hard. Hope this points you in a useful direction. $\endgroup$ – Ben Bolker Aug 29 '19 at 23:02

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