, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 9–18 | Cite as

An evaluation of two methods used for microscopic analysis of airborne fungal spore concentrations from the Burkard Spore Trap

  • Melinda Sterling
  • Christine Rogers
  • Estelle Levetin


The Burkard Volumetric Spore Trap is a common and efficient instrument used to collect outdoor air samples. In North America, two slide counting methods have been widely used by aerobiologists: the single longitudinal traverse method and the twelve transverse traverse method. The purpose of this study was to compare the two counting methods by assessing fungal spore concentrations of ascospores, basidiospores, smut teliospores, Cladosporium, Alternaria, Epicoccum, Curvularia, Drechslera, Pithomyces, other spores, and total spores at two metropolitan Tulsa, Oklahoma sites (Tulsa and Hectorville) during September 1996. Results showed that both methods were sensing parallel fluctuations in average daily spore concentration, although the twelve transverse traverse method usually resulted in higher concentrations. At the Tulsa site, the twelve transverse traverse method gave statistically higher concentrations than the single longitudinal traverse method except for Epicoccum, Pithomyces, smut teliospores, and other spores. At the Hectorville site, however, only Cladosporium and basidiospores showed that the twelve transverse traverse method was statistically higher than the single longitudinal traverse method. Comparison with concentrations obtained by counting the total slide surface of two slides indicated that neither method was equivalent to the total slide spore count, although the twelve transverse traverse method gave a lower absolute percent difference from the total slide surface concentration. While the twelve transverse traverse method gave slightly better approximations of the spore concentration, the increase in accuracy may not justify the extra effort required to analyze with this method.

aerobiology air spora Burkard Spore Trap counting methods fungal spores 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Burge H.: 1992, Monitoring for airborne allergens. Ann. Allergy 69, 9–18.Google Scholar
  2. Burge H.: 1995, Bioaerosol Investigations. In: H. Burge (ed), Bioaerosols. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, FL, pp. 1–23.Google Scholar
  3. Comtois P., Alcazar P. and Neron D.: 1996, (Abstr.) Pollen count statistics and its relevance to precision. Compostela Aerobiology. European Symposium on Aerobiology.Google Scholar
  4. Gutman A. and Bush R.: 1993, Allergens and other factors important in atopic disease. In: R. Patterson, C.L. Grammer, P.A. Greenberger and G.R. Zeiss, Allergic Diseases: Diagnosis and Management, 4th edition. J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, pp. 93–158.Google Scholar
  5. Hirst J.M.: 1952, An automatic volumetric spore trap. Ann. Appl. Biol. 39, 257–265.Google Scholar
  6. Kapyla M. and Penttinen A.: 1981, An evaluation of the microscopic counting methods of the tape in Hirst-Burkard pollen and spore trap. Grana 20, 131–141.Google Scholar
  7. Lacey J. and Venette J.: 1995, Outdoor air sampling techniques. In: C.S. Cox and C.M. Wathes (eds), Bioaerosol Handbook. CRC Lewis Publications, Boca Raton, FL, pp. 407–471.Google Scholar
  8. Molina R.T., Rodriguez A.M. and Palacios I.S.: 1996, Sampling in aerobiology. Differences between traverses along the length of the slide in Hirst spore traps. Aerobiologia 12, 161–166.Google Scholar
  9. Muilenberg M.: 1989, Aeroallergen assessment by microscopy and culture. Immunol. Allergy Clin. N. Am. 9(2), 245–268.Google Scholar
  10. Muilenberg M.: 1995, The Outdoor Aerosol. In: H. Burge (ed), Bioaerosols. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, FL, pp. 163–204.Google Scholar
  11. Salvaggio J. and Aukrust L.: 1981, Mold-induced asthma. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 68(5), 327–346.Google Scholar
  12. Solomon W.R., Burge H.A., Boise J.R. and Becker M.: 1980, Comparative particle recoveries by the Retracting Rotorod, Rotoslide and Burkard Spore Trap sampling in a compact array. Int. J. Biometeor. 24(2), 107–116.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melinda Sterling
    • 1
  • Christine Rogers
    • 1
  • Estelle Levetin
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Biological ScienceUniversity of TulsaTulsaUSA

Personalised recommendations