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Spore Trap Sampling for Mold

Spore Trap (Non-culturable) Air Sampling


  • To capture and quantify a broad spectrum of fungal spores (both culturable and non-culturable) present in the air.
  • To assess whether the levels present suggest a fungal problem in the indoor locations.


  • Spore trap samplers are capable of capturing a majority of spores and particulate matter in the air. Consequently, it is possible to accurately characterize problem environments where spores are present, but either are no longer viable, or are species that do not culture well. These are two situations where culturable sampling techniques, if used alone, may miss a potential IAQ problem.
  • Spore traps can also be used to quantify pollen, fiberglass, hyphal fragments, hair, skin cells, etc., present in the air.
  • Samples can be analyzed immediately.


  • While many mold spores have a unique morphology and are identified by direct microscopic examination, others do not and are more difficult to identify. These latter types must be counted in broader spore groups. In certain situations, this grouping may mask an IAQ problem.
  • Viability is not assessed. This is not critical in most situations.


  • Zefon Air-O-Cell™ and 15 lpm pump, or
  • Allergenco sampler and greased slide, or
  • Burkard sampler and greased slide, or
  • The equivalent (many new devices are emerging on the market, but be careful when adopting new devices), and
  • Calibrated Flow indicator or Rotameter

Pump Calibration

Before sampling, always calibrate the sampling system (pump attached to sampling device) using a calibrated flow indicator or a rotameter that has been calibrated to a primary standard depending on the type of sampler. It should be noted that different calibration protocols are adopted depending on the manufacturer and the type of sampling pump used. For example, Zefon Bio-Pump (usually supplied with a pre-calibrated fl   w indicator) can be calibrated following the manufacturers recommendation as follows: (These are subject to change without notification and it is generally recommended to always be sure pumps are calibrated and to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.)

  • Connect a cassette to the pump
  • Press the ON/OFF button to turn the pump on.
  • Use the UP/DOWN arrow buttons to select CAL.
  • Connect the flow indicator or bubble tube.
  • Press the SET button and the unit will start running at a low speed.
  • Use the UP/DOWN arrows to adjust the flow rate until 15 LPM is shown on the flow indicator or bubble tube.
  • Press the set key to save the calibration. The unit will stop automatically.

Sampling Protocols

  • Typical sampling locations include problem areas, an indoor non-problem area if available, and at least one representative outdoor area (more are preferred).
  • Air sampling data represent a specific moment in time and field observations are of great importance. Noting items such as weather, activity levels, HVAC operation, and how accessible the outside air is (e.g. nearby windows and doors to the outside) will be helpful in interpreting the results.
Environmental conditions Recommended sampling time @ 15 liters/min
Wall cavities 1 minute
Dusty, dirty, visible particles in the air 3 minutes
Normal office 5 minutes
Very clean indoor areas 10 minutes
  • Sampling at multiple times is often helpful.


  • No special shipping requirements are necessary except adequate padding.