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Proceedings Paper

Field detection of bacillus spore aerosols with stand-alone pyrolysis-gas chromatography and ion mobility spectrometry
Author(s): A. Snyder; Waleed M. Maswadeh; John A. Parsons; Ashish Tripathi; Henk L. C. Meuzelaar; Jacek P. Dworzanski; Man-Goo Kim
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Paper Abstract

A commercially available, hand-held chemical vapor detector was modified to detect Gram-positive Bacillus subtilis var. globigii spores (BG) in outdoor field scenarios. An Airborne Vapor Monitor (AVM) ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) vapor detector was interfaced to a biological sample processing and transfer introduction system. The biological sample processing was accomplished by quartz tube pyrolysis (Py), and the resultant vapor was transferred by gas chromatography (GC) to the IMS detector. The Py-GC/IMS system can be described as a hyphenated device where two analytical dimensions, in series, allow the separation and isolation of individual components from the pyrolytic decomposition of biological analytes. Gram positive spores such as BG contain 5 - 15% by weight of dipicolinic acid (DPA), and picolinic acid is a pyrolysis product of DPA. Picolinic acid has a high proton affinity, and it is detected in a sensitive fashion by the atmospheric pressure-based IMS device. Picolinic acid occupies a unique region in the GC/IMS data domain with respect to other bacterial pyrolysis products. A 1000 to 1, air-to-air, aerosol concentrator was interfaced to the Py-GC/IMS instrument, and the system was placed in an open-air, Western United States desert environment. The system was tested with BG spore aerosol releases, and the instrument was remotely operated during a trial. A Met-One aerosol particle counter was placed next to the Py-GC/IMS so as to obtain a real-time record of the ambient and bacterial aerosol challenges. The presence/absence of an aerosol event, determined by an aerosol particle counter and a slit sampler-agar plate system, was compared to the presence/absence of a picolinic acid response in a GC/IMS data window at selected times in a trial with respect to a BG challenge. In the 21 BG trials, the Py-GC/IMS instrument experienced two true negatives, no false positives, and the instrument developed a software failure in one trial. The remaining 18 trials were true positive determinations for the presence of BG aerosol, and a limit of detection for the Py-GC/IMS instrument was estimated at approximately 3300 BG spore-containing particles.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 December 1999
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 3853, Environmental Monitoring and Remediation Technologies II, (21 December 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.372846
Show Author Affiliations
A. Snyder, U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Ctr. (United States)
Waleed M. Maswadeh, Geo-Centers, Inc. (United States)
John A. Parsons, Geo-Centers, Inc. (United States)
Ashish Tripathi, Geo-Centers, Inc. (United States)
Henk L. C. Meuzelaar, Univ. of Utah (United States)
Jacek P. Dworzanski, Univ. of Utah (United States)
Man-Goo Kim, Univ. of Utah (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3853:
Environmental Monitoring and Remediation Technologies II
Tuan Vo-Dinh; Robert L. Spellicy, Editor(s)

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