Much progress has been made in the field of automated monitoring systems of airborne pathogens. However, they still lack the robustness and stability necessary for field deployment. Here, we demonstrate a bioaerosol automonitoring instrument (BAMI) specifically designed for the in situ capturing and continuous monitoring of airborne fungal particles. This was possible by developing highly sensitive and selective fungi sensors based on two-channel carbon nanotube field-effect transistors (CNT-FETs), followed by integration with a bioaerosol sampler, a Peltier cooler for receptor lifetime enhancement, and a pumping assembly for fluidic control. These four main components collectively cooperated with each other to enable the real-time monitoring of fungi. The two-channel CNT-FETs can detect two different fungal species simultaneously. The Peltier cooler effectively lowers the working temperature of the sensor device, resulting in extended sensor lifetime and receptor stability. The system performance was verified in both laboratory conditions and real residential areas. The system response was in accordance with reported fungal species distribution in the environment. Our system is versatile enough that it can be easily modified for the monitoring of other airborne pathogens. We expect that our system will expedite the development of hand-held and portable systems for airborne bioaerosol monitoring.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry