Dermatophagoides farinae allergen (Der f1) is one of the most important indoor allergens associated with allergic diseases in humans. Mite allergen Der f1 is usually associated with particles of high molecular weight; thus, Der f1 is generally present in settled dust. However, a small quantity of Der f1 can be aerosolized and become an airborne component. Until now, a reliable method of detecting airborne Der f1 has not been developed. The aim of this study was to develop a fiber-optic chemifluorescent immunoassay for the detection of airborne Der f1. In this method, the Der f1 concentration measured on the basis of the intensity of fluorescence amplified by an enzymatic reaction between the labeled enzyme by a detection antibody and a fluorescent substrate. The measured Der f1 concentration was in the range from 0.49 to 250 ng/ml and a similar range was found by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). This method was proved to be highly sensitive to Der f1 compared with other airborne allergens. For the implementation of airborne allergen measurement in a residential environment, a bioaerosol sampler was constructed. The airborne allergen generated by a nebulizer was conveyed to a newly sampler we developed for collecting airborne Der f1. The sampler was composed of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) cells for gas/liquid phases and some porous membranes which were sandwiched in between the two phases. Der f1 in air was collected by the sampler and measured using the fiber-optic immunoassay system. The concentration of Der f1 in aerosolized standards was in the range from 0.125 to 2.0 mg/m(3) and the collection rate of the device was approximately 0.2%.
Keywords: Airborne allergen; Bioaerosol; Chemifluorescent immunoassay; Der f1; Dermatophagoides farinae; Fiber-optic.
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