Reviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 495–523 | Cite as

Linking the conventional and emerging detection techniques for ambient bioaerosols: a review

  • Prakriti Sharma Ghimire
  • Lekhendra Tripathee
  • Pengfei Chen
  • Shichang KangEmail author
Review Paper


Bioaerosols are biologically originated particles present in the atmosphere that can be formed from any process involving biological materials. They comprise of both living and non-living components including organisms, dispersal methods of organisms, and excretions. Bioaerosols such as airborne bacteria, fungal spores, pollen, and others possess diverse characteristics and effects. A large gap exists in the scientific understanding of the overall physical characteristics and measurement of bioaerosols. Consequently, this review aims to devise an appropriate approach to generate more scientific knowledge of bioaerosols. In addition to comparisons and discussions about the various factors affecting bioaerosols, sampling, handling, and the application of various devised analytical techniques, this review offers insight into the current state of bioaerosol research. The review focuses on instrumental and methodical strategies to understand bioaerosol measurement. Numerous studies have investigated conventional methods, advanced methods, and real-time methods that can be applied for bioaerosol monitoring. Each method is different in terms of working principle, characteristics, sensitivity, and efficiency. For the first time, this review explains and compares different methods of conventional, offline, online, and real-time detection methods of bioaerosols based on their working principles, sensitivity, and efficiency on a single platform. This will provide a clear concept and better options for selecting the appropriate method based on the research proposal. Furthermore, recent advances are summarized, and future outlooks are emphasized for bioaerosol identification and categorization. This study also encourages developing affordable and standardized methods to avoid the inter-laboratory and sampling variability to obtain a better understanding and comparison of bioaerosol measurements worldwide. Nevertheless, this work can assist researchers in selecting appropriate methods for bioaerosol measurement and investigation.


Bioaerosol Atmosphere Bacteria Fungi Bioaerosol measurement Analytical approach 



We acknowledge the support provided by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41630754, 41721091) and the State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Science (SKLCS-ZZ-2018). Prakriti Sharma Ghimire is supported by a PIFI Fellowship from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (PIFI2018PC20021). Lekhendra Tripathee acknowledges the Chinese Academy of Science for international Young staff support under PIFI (2020FYC0001) program.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Science, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and ResourcesChinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)LanzhouChina
  2. 2.CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Himalayan Environment Research Institute (HERI)KathmanduNepal

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