High Efficiency Pathogen Collection and Rapid Detection of Surface Microbes 2002-01-2450
Accurate and rapid detection of space-flight food and equipment bioburdens is paramount to crew safety and planetary protection. Optimal detection accuracy depends on maximum sample collection efficiency. Surface swab sampling methods are inefficient and may not collect microbial cells or spores sheltered in minute surface irregularities. A novel hand held wet-vacuum sampler, the Microbial-Vac™ (M-Vac™) was compared to swabs on inanimate surfaces inoculated with E. coli or B. subtilis. Culture results indicated 2 to 10 times higher recovery efficiencies with the M-Vac levels verses swabs, with differences most evident on rough-surfaces Solid Phase Laser Cytometry (ScanRDI) was compared to conventional methods to directly detect M-Vac-concentrated microbes within 1 to 2 hours. results compared well with cultures. These coupled technologies could provide a more accurate and rapid monitoring system for surface microbes on space equipment and supplies.