Comparison of the Burkard and Allergenco MK-3 volumetric collectors

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2000 Jan;84(1):19-24. doi: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)62735-4.


Background: The Burkard sampler is a widely used volumetric pollen and spore collector, in part, because it is wind-oriented, it has consistent flow characteristics, and it permits time-discrimination of collected particles. Its main disadvantages are that it is heavy, expensive, and visual counting is very time-consuming. A less-expensive volumetric collector with time discrimination capabilities could permit more widespread particle counting which would enhance our understanding of aerobiology.

Objective: The objective of this study is to compare the collection recoveries of the Burkard sampler with a less-expensive non-wind oriented collector, the Allergenco MK-3, under various wind speeds.

Methods: Pollen and spore counts were compared on 20 sampling days during the spring pollen season using a Burkard and Allergenco MK-3 located next to each other on the roof of a 5-story hospital building. A weather station was placed nearby and wind velocity was concurrently measured.

Results: The median wind velocity was 6 miles/hour with a maximum of 35 miles/hour. The Burkard and Allergenco MK-3 collectors displayed similar collection characteristics at all wind velocities for both pollen and spores. The Burkard gave lower counts than the Allergenco when absolute particle counts were low and similar values at higher absolute counts.

Conclusions: Given our data, we conclude that ambient wind speed has no significant effect on collection efficiency at velocities commonly found on the roof of our hospital and that the collection characteristics of the Burkard and Allergenco MK-3 are comparable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Pollen*
  • Quality Control
  • Spores*


  • Air Pollutants