The Coriolis δ air sampler manufactured by Bertin Technologies (France) is a continuous air sampler, dedicated to outdoor monitoring of airborne spores and pollen grains. This high-volume sampler is based on patented Coriolis technology delivering a liquid sample. The air is drawn into a conical vial in a whirling type motion using suction; particles are pulled against the wall by centrifugal force. Airborne particles are separated from the air and collected in a liquid medium. This innovative solution allows rapid analysis by several techniques including PCR assay and serological assay in order to measure the antigenicity/allergenicity of pollen grains and fungal spores. Also, traditional counting of pollen grains or taxa identification by optical microscopy can be done. A study has been carried out by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), Porton Down, UK, to measure the physical efficiency of the Coriolis air sampler. The physical efficiency of the sampler for collection of micro-organism-laden particles of various sizes has been compared with that of membrane filter samplers using the techniques described by ISO 14698-1. The Coriolis was operated simultaneously with membrane filter samplers in a controlled room where they were challenged with uniform-sized particles of different diameters containing bacterial spores. For the larger particle sizes, it was found that the physical efficiency of the Coriolis was 92% for 10-μm particles. The biological performance of the Coriolis in the collection of airborne fungal spores and pollen grains was evaluated in comparison with a Hirst spore trap (one-week tape-on-drum type sampler) which is one of the most frequently used traps in the measurement of outdoor pollen grain concentrations. The advantages and limitations of both technologies are discussed. The Coriolis was operated simultaneously with a Hirst spore trap in the sampling station of Réseau National de Surveillance Aérobiologique, France (RNSA); the pollen grain and fungal spore counts were analysed by optical microscopy. The pollen grain count m-3 collected was compared for both devices. The dispersion values were obtained and statistical analysis was carried out. This study shows that the Coriolis air sampler provided equivalent recovery of pollen grain and fungal spores compared with the volumetric trap standard method (not significantly different, W test, α = 0.05). Nowadays, the French-led project, acronym MONALISA, with financial support from the European Commission - Life-Environment (LIFE05 ENV/F/000068), is testing this innovative air sampler in order to measure the antigenicity/allergenicity of the main aeroallergen particles, i.e. Betula (birch), Poaceae (grasses), Parietaria (pellitory), Olea spp (olive tree), and Artemisia (mugwort) pollen grains, and Alternaria (fungal spores) to validate a new approach of monitoring instead of quantifying pollen grains by their morphology. The robustness and efficiency of the MONALISA system is being demonstrated at a national level throughout Europe in eight different countries with different bio-climatic and topography characteristics: France, UK, Finland, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, and Italy.
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Acknowledgements This study was partially supported by the European Community (DG, Belgium) with the Life-Environment financial instrument.
- Aerosol sampling
- Air sampler
- Pollen grain