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Airborne Environmental Endotoxin: A Cross-validation Of Sampling And Analysis Techniques.

M. Walters, D. Milton, L. Larsson, T. Ford
Published 1994 · Biology, Environmental Science, Medicine

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A standard method for measurement of airborne environmental endotoxin was developed and field tested in a fiberglass insulation-manufacturing facility. This method involved sampling with a capillary-pore membrane filter, extraction in buffer using a sonication bath, and analysis by the kinetic-Limulus assay with resistant-parallel-line estimation (KLARE). Cross-validation of the extraction and assay method was performed by comparison with methanolysis of samples followed by 3-hydroxy fatty acid (3-OHFA) analysis by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Direct methanolysis of filter samples and methanolysis of buffer extracts of the filters yielded similar 3-OHFA content (P = 0.72); the average difference was 2.1%. Analysis of buffer extracts for endotoxin content by the KLARE method and by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry for 3-OHFA content produced similar results (P = 0.23); the average difference was 0.88%. The source of endotoxin was gram-negative bacteria growing in recycled washwater used to clean the insulation-manufacturing equipment. The endotoxin and bacteria become airborne during spray cleaning operations. The types of 3-OHFAs in bacteria cultured from the washwater, present in the washwater and in the air, were similar. Virtually all of the bacteria cultured from air and water were gram negative composed mostly of two species, Deleya aesta and Acinetobacter johnsonii. Airborne countable bacteria correlated well with endotoxin (r2 = 0.64). Replicate sampling showed that results with the standard sampling, extraction, and Limulus assay by the KLARE method were highly reproducible (95% confidence interval for endotoxin measurement +/- 0.28 log10). These results demonstrate the accuracy, precision, and sensitivity of the standard procedure proposed for airborne environmental endotoxin.
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