Detection of the urban release of a bacillus anthracis simulant by air sampling

Biosecur Bioterror. Mar-Apr 2014;12(2):66-75. doi: 10.1089/bsp.2013.0086. Epub 2014 Apr 3.


In 2005 and 2009, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) staged deliberate releases of a commercially available organic pesticide containing Bacillus amyloliquefaciens to evaluate PFPA's biothreat response protocols. In concert with, but independent of, these releases, the Department of Homeland Security sponsored experiments to evaluate the efficacy of commonly employed air and surface sampling techniques for detection of an aerosolized biological agent. High-volume air samplers were placed in the expected downwind plume, and samples were collected before, during, and after the releases. Environmental surface and personal air samples were collected in the vicinity of the high-volume air samplers hours after the plume had dispersed. The results indicate it is feasible to detect the release of a biological agent in an urban area both during and after the release of a biological agent using high-volume air and environmental sampling techniques.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Microbiology*
  • Air Movements
  • Air Pollutants / isolation & purification*
  • Bacillus anthracis / isolation & purification*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Models, Theoretical
  • United States


  • Air Pollutants