Validation of a novel sampling technology for airborne allergens in low-income urban homes

Allergens are distributed between the settled dust and airborne compartments. The airborne compartment represents inhalable allergen that penetrates deeply in the respiratory tract and may trigger asthma symptoms.1Larger airborne particles may also trigger allergic rhinitis. Because methods of air sampling have been technically demanding and limited by assay sensitivity, dust collection has been a standard surrogate. Raulf et al reviewed methods for measurement of airborne allergens.1 More recent studies have described potentially improved methods. Barnes et al23 used capture of allergens by air filters run over a period of months in people’s homes. We4 introduced a simple plug-in device (Inspirotec, Inc, Chicago, Illinois) for air sampling. It is silent, unobtrusive, and requires no technical skill to operate.

Due to the relatively low concentration of allergen in the airborne compartment, their detection, especially of dust mite, has been problematic. The Inspirotec sampler has been optimized for sample capture by ionic propulsion (US patent numbers 8,038,944, 9,216,412,  9,360,402, 9,481,904 and 9,618,431). The combination of Inspirotec’s high airflow rate and highly sensitive Multiplex Array for Indoor Allergen (MARIA, Indoor Biotechnology, Charlottesville, Virginia) multiplex immunoassays facilitates the detection of a full spectrum of airborne allergens, including those previously undetectable. Hitherto, other investigators have been able to find significant correlations between allergen content of dust and air for mouse, cat, and dog. Herein we evaluate the performance of the Inspirotec sampler by establishing correlations with reference methods of air sampling and dust collection for multiple allergens. This was done as part of a larger, ongoing, randomized clinical trial of home environmental intervention in which multiple air and dust samples were collected from low-income home in Baltimore, Maryland. We found significant correlations for Inspirote sampling compared both with standard particulate matter 10 (PM10: ie, particle size <10pm) air filtration and dust collection, for mouse, cat and dog allergens.


Julian Gordon
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