Evaluation of home allergen sampling devices


Mr Jason Sercombe
Woolcock Institute of Medical Research
Rm 461 Blackburn Building D06
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006


Background:  Simple, inexpensive methods of sampling from allergen reservoirs are necessary for large-scale studies or low-cost householder-operated allergen measurement.

Methods:  We tested two commercial devices: the Indoor Biotechnologies Mitest Dust Collector and the Dräger Bio-Check Allergen Control; two devices of our own design: the Electrostatic Cloth Sampler (ECS) and the Press Tape Sampler (PTS); and a Vacuum Sampler as used in many allergen studies (our Reference Method). Devices were used to collect dust mite allergen samples from 16 domestic carpets. Results were examined for correlations between the sampling methods.

Results:  With mite allergen concentration expressed as μg/g, the Mitest, the ECS and the PTS correlated with the Reference Method but not with each other. When mite allergen concentration was expressed as μg/m2 the Mitest and the ECS correlated with the Reference Method but the PTS did not. In the high allergen conditions of this study, the Dräger Bio-Check did not relate to any methods.

Conclusions:  The Mitest Dust Collector, the ECS and the PTS show performance consistent with the Reference Method. Many techniques can be used to collect dust mite allergen samples. More investigation is needed to prove any method as superior for estimating allergen exposure.