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