SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1996

The Use of an Experimental Room for Monitoring of Airborne Concentrations of Microorganisms, Glass Fibers, and Total Particles


An experimental room was used as a microcosm for studies of airborne particles and microorganisms in indoor environments. The interior of the room measures 4 by 4 by 2.2 m high and has a hardwood floor and the walls and ceiling are sheetrocked and coated with interior latex paint. Exterior walls are 11.4-cm thick plywood panels consisting of two outer sections of plywood insulated with fiber glass batts. The ceiling is of similar construction with 17.1-cm thick panels. Attached to the room entrance is an anteroom equipped with a HEPA-filtered air shower to reduce mixing of air resulting from entering and exiting during experiments. The room is equipped with a computer-controlled heating, ventilation, and cooling system. Temperature, relative humidity, air flow, and room pressure can be continuously monitored by probes located in the room and air handling system components. Several research projects have been conducted using this room including monitoring the potential for airborne glass fibers released from rigid fibrous ductboard, comparisons of commercially available samplers for monitoring of airborne fungal spores, and a study on the efficacy of vacuum bags to minimize dispersal of particles, including fungal spores from fungal-contaminated carpet. During studies designed to monitor airborne fiberglass, air samples were taken in the room serviced by new rigid fibrous glass ductwork, and the results were compared to those obtained in the room with bare metal ductwork installed. Monitoring of airborne fungal spores using the Andersen six-stage sampler, the high flow Spiral Biotech sampler, the Biotest RCS Plus sampler, and the Burkard spore trap sampler was performed following the release of Penicillium spores into the room through the supply register. Dispersal of carpet-associated particles and fungal spores was measured after vacuuming using conventional cellulose vacuum bags in comparison to recently developed bags.

Author Information

Buttner, MP
Harry Reid Center for Environmental Studies, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV
Stetzenbach, LD
Harry Reid Center for Environmental Studies, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV
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Developed by Committee: D22
Pages: 75–86
DOI: 10.1520/STP15612S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5340-0
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-2030-3