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Open Access Short report

Development of an optimized method for the detection of airborne viruses with real-time PCR analysis

Panos G Ziros, Petros A Kokkinos, Euaggelia Legaki and Apostolos Vantarakis*

Author Affiliations

Environmental Microbiology Unit, Department of Public Health, School of Medicine, University of Patras, Rion, GR 26504, Greece

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Virology Journal 2011, 8:369  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-8-369

Published: 27 July 2011

Abstract

Background

Airborne viruses remain one of the major public health issues worldwide. Detection and quantification of airborne viruses is essential in order to provide information regarding public health risk assessment.

Findings

In this study, an optimized new, simple, low cost method for sampling of airborne viruses using Low Melting Agarose (LMA) plates and a conventional microbial air sampling device has been developed. The use of LMA plates permits the direct nucleic acids extraction of the captured viruses without the need of any preliminary elution step. Molecular detection and quantification of airborne viruses is performed using real-time quantitative (RT-)PCR (Q(RT-)PCR) technique. The method has been tested using Adenoviruses (AdVs) and Noroviruses (NoVs) GII, as representative DNA and RNA viruses, respectively. Moreover, the method has been tested successfully in outdoor experiments, by detecting and quantifying human adenoviruses (HAdVs) in the airborne environment of a wastewater treatment plant.

Conclusions

The great advantage of LMA is that nucleic acids extraction is performed directly on the LMA plates, while the eluted nucleic acids are totally free of inhibitory substances. Coupled with QPCR the whole procedure can be completed in less than three (3) hours.

Keywords:
airborne viruses; air sampling; air pollution; human adenovirus; norovirus; and wastewater treatment plant