Bioaerosol analysis based on a label-free microarray readout method using surface-enhanced Raman scattering

Kathrin Schwarzmeier, Maria Knauer, Natalia P. Ivleva, Reinhard Niessner, Christoph Haisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Bacterial contamination of indoor air is a serious threat to human health. Pathogenic germs can be transferred from the liquid to the aerosol phase, for instance, when water is sprayed in the air, such as in shower rooms, air conditioners, or fountains. Existing analytical methods for biological indoor air-quality assessment and contamination monitoring are mostly time consuming as they generally require a cultivation step. The need for a rapid, sensitive, and selective detection method for bioaerosols is evident. Our approach is based on the combination of a commercial wet particle sampler (Coriolis μ, Bertin Technologies, France) and a label-free microarray readout based on surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) for detection, which was established in our laboratories. Heat-inactivated Escherichia coli bacteria were used as test microorganisms. An E. coli suspension was sprayed into the chamber by a jet air nebulizer. The resulting bioaerosol was dried, neutralized, and then collected by a Coriolis μ sampler. The bacteria collected were detected by a recently developed microarray readout system, based on label-free SERS detection. A special data evaluation procedure was applied in order to fully exploit the selectivity of the detection scheme, resulting in a detection limit of 144 particles per cubic centimeter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5387-5392
Number of pages6
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number16
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Aerosol
  • Bioaerosol
  • Cyclone sampler
  • Escherichia coli
  • Surface-enhanced Raman scattering


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