Endotoxins In Hospitals

By Daniel Y. C. Fung, Ph.D.
Professor of Food Science, Kansas State University

Pyrogens, endotoxins from gram-negative bacteria cell walls, are harmful in environments, such as hospitals and health care units. In a study of the occurrence of endotoxins in microbiological laboratories and general environments using the SAS Microbial Air Sampler, we found positive reactions of endotoxins using the limulus amoebocyte lysate (LAL) test of a limited number of air samples. In fact, the LAL test was so sensitive that even our water supply tested positive and we had to purchase a “pyrogen free” buffer to do the experiments.

This is an exciting area of research that deserves further exploration. To complete the test, prepare pyrogen-free agar in the plate and run the plate through the SAS Microbial Air Sampler. Remove the agar, make a dilution and then perform the LAL test. The test is less than one hour.

With the SAS Microbial Air Sampler, more such innovative applications can be explored in both teaching and applied microbiology.


Editor’s Note: Another new study, “Advantages and Limitations of a Surface Air System Based Sampler for Monitoring and Characterizing Bio-aerosols” by Dr. Suresh D. Pillai, which demonstrates the use of SAS in conjunction with PCR analysis, is available through Bioscience.

From Bioscience World, Autumn 2001


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