, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 173-179

First online:

Using selective media to assess aerosolization damage and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation susceptibility of Serratia marcescens

  • Ka-Man LaiAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public HealthDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University College London Email author 

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This study determined whether selective media, McConkey agar (MC) and minimal salt glucose agar (MA) are suitable for monitoring aerosolization damage of airborne Serratia marcescens in our laboratory aerosol exposure system and assessed the relationship between bacterial culturability in these media and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) susceptibility of the bacteria. Two types of bacterial cultures were prepared. The first culture was taken from bacteria growing on Tryptic soy agar (TSA) as complete medium (fresh culture), which provided nearly 100% of MC/MA tolerant bacteria, while the second one was prepared from freezing the fresh culture (frozen culture), which produced 55 and 81% of MC and MA tolerant bacteria, respectively. We monitored bacterial culturability in TSA, MC and MA from these cultures in the nebulizer reservoir and bioaerosls collected on a six-stage Andersen cascade bio-impactor. The results indicated that both concentration and percentage of MC/MA tolerant bacteria maintained at a similar level during nebulization. For the bioaerosols, although the concentration recovered in the media from the fresh culture was higher than that from the frozen culture, the percentage of MC/MA tolerant bacteria was similar to that before aerosolization. We concluded that MC and MA are not suitable for monitoring aerosolization damage of the bacteria. Moreover, culturability of the bacteria in MC and MA has no effect on their survival after aerosolization. With respect to the bacterial susceptibility to UVGI, MC/MA sensitive and tolerant population as well as the fresh and frozen cultures showed the same susceptibility.


aerosolization cell damage selective media Serratia marcescens UV germicidal irradition