Wet-Vacuum Sampler For Surface Biocontamination Detection

Period of Performance: 02/21/2001 - 09/30/2001


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Rocky Mountain Resource Labs, Inc.
Jerome, ID 83338
Principal Investigator


In response to possible biological warfare (BW) attack, accurate sample acquisition and rapid detection of point microbial contamination on military equipment, housing and supplies is required for personnel safety and early response strategies. A novel hand-held, wet-vacuum sampling unit (VSU) is proposed, which will allow application of sterile rinse solutions onto diverse material surfaces or textures to promote detachment and recovery of biological agents (BA). Dried material of interest may be pre-hydrated without vacuum as needed to improve microbial detachment. Liquid-suspended BA's are collected and filtered onto a 47mm disc filter within the VSU in a single operation. Liquid transport or resuscitation media may be added. Simple removal of the VSU's final filter will accommodate conventional or rapid detection method (RDM) processing. The feasibility of utilizing Solid Phase Laser Cytometry for rapid detection of microbes directly on the VSU's filter is also proposed. In future R&D, procedure development is anticipated to back-flush microbes off the VSU's filter for PCR, ELISA and other RDM or further processing in liquid. This unique system is projected to offer a more reliable sample acquisition alternative to military and civilian environmental and health safety officers to counter acts of bioterrorism or hostile BW attacks.The proposed microbial sampling system will provide improved health and safety potential for military and civilian personnel by allowing more rapid and accurate sample acquisition and monitoring of contamination from biological warfare and terrorist threats or attacks. Other government and civilian agencies involved in food safety issues resulting from pathogenic contamination of food or food-preparation surfaces and environments will also benefit from the commercial availability of this improved microbial sampling and detection system.