Home > Resources > Sampling Guides > PCR - Mold Sampling

Mold Sampling for PCR Testing

Mold-Specific Quantitative PCR (MSQPCR) Sampling


  • To detect and quantify molds from dust, air or swab samples.

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Advantages
    • Accurate and standardized identification of mold species, sub-species or group of closely related species.
    • Quick turn-around-time.
    • Long sampling times for air samples possible (recommended).
    • Detects and quantifies viable and non-viable mold spores and hyphae.
    • Pre-selection of PCR assays required (molds that are not requested in the test will not be detected).
  • Disadvantages
    • Higher price compared to culture and microscopy


  • Swab
  • Dustchek™ or Mitest™ sampler (attachment for standard household vacuum cleaners).
  • 3-pc air sampling cassette and vacuum pump


  • Swab samples can be collected with liquid swabs for identification of molds from visibly affected areas. For quantification to determine mold burden in indoor environments, dust samples are recommended.
  • For dust sampling, see ERMI sampling instructions.
  • For air samples, volumes of 1 m3 or more are recommended. For air monitoring projects (e.g. clean room environments), sampling times of several hours are appropriate. There is no risk of "overloading" air samples for PCR analysis.


  • Dust, swab and air samples should be shipped to the laboratory for overnight delivery. If samples are stored before analysis, additional mold growth in the sample must be avoided by keeping the sample refrigerated and/or dry.


  • Results are reported in "Spore Equivalents" (SE) per sampling unit. MSQPCR is calibrated with a pure spore suspension of the target species. PCR detects DNA from all viable and non-viable fungal cells or cell fragments with nuclei including hyphae. However, because the reaction is calibrated with spores in a suspension, the term "Spore Equivalent" is appropriate for the reporting.

PCR assays and panels

  • PCR tests can be ordered as pre-selected assay panel, as individual test, or in any requested combination.