Author(s): Krauter P, Biermann A
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Abstract This project examined dry, fluidized spore reaerosolization in a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning duct system. Experiments using spores of Bacillus atrophaeus, a nonpathogenic surrogate for Bacillus anthracis, were conducted to delineate the extent of spore reaerosolization behavior under normal indoor airflow conditions. Short-term (five air-volume exchanges), long-term (up to 21,000 air-volume exchanges), and cycled (on-off) reaerosolization tests were conducted using two common duct materials. Spores were released into the test apparatus in turbulent airflow (Reynolds number, 26,000). After the initial pulse of spores (approximately 10(10) to 10(11) viable spores) was released, high-efficiency particulate air filters were added to the air intake. Airflow was again used to perturb the spores that had previously deposited onto the duct. Resuspension rates on both steel and plastic duct materials were between 10(-3) and 10(-5) per second, which decreased to 10 times less than initial rates within 30 min. Pulsed flow caused an initial spike in spore resuspension concentration that rapidly decreased. The resuspension rates were greater than those predicted by resuspension models for contamination in the environment, a result attributed to surface roughness differences. There was no difference between spore reaerosolization from metal and that from plastic duct surfaces over 5 hours of constant airflow. The spores that deposited onto the duct remained a persistent source of contamination over a period of several hours.
This article was published in Appl Environ Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense