High-Flow-Rate Impinger for the Study of Concentration, Viability, Metabolic Activity, and Ice-Nucleation Activity of Airborne Bacteria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The study of airborne bacteria relies on a sampling strategy that preserves their integrity and in situ physiological state, e.g. viability, cultivability, metabolic activity, and ice-nucleation activity. Because ambient air harbors low concentrations of bacteria, an effective bioaerosol sampler should have a high sampling efficiency and a high airflow. We characterize a high-flow-rate impinger with respect to particle collection and retention efficiencies in the range 0.5-3.0 μm, and we investigated its ability to preserve the physiological state of selected bacterial species and seawater bacterial community in comparison with four commercial bioaerosol samplers. The collection efficiency increased with particle size and the cutoff diameter was between 0.5 and 1 μm. During sampling periods of 120-300 min, the impinger retained the cultivability, metabolic activity, viability, and ice-nucleation activity of investigated bacteria. Field studies in semiurban, high-altitude, and polar environments included periods of low bacterial air concentrations, thus demonstrating the benefits of the impinger's high flow rate. In conclusion, the impinger described here has many advantages compared with other bioaerosol samplers currently on the market: a potential for long sampling time, a high flow rate, a high sampling and retention efficiency, low costs, and applicability for diverse downstream microbiological and molecular analyses.


  • Tina Santl-Temkiv
  • Pierre Amato
  • Ulrich Gosewinkel Karlson
  • Runar Thyrhaug
  • Anaïs Charton
  • Benjamin Chicot
  • Kai Finster
  • Gunnar Bratbak
  • Jakob Löndahl
External organisations
  • Aarhus University
  • University of Bergen
  • University of Auvergne
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Microbiology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11224-11234
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct 3
Publication categoryResearch