Usefulness of a 3D-printing air sampler for capturing live airborne bacteria and exploring the environmental factors that can influence bacterial dynamics

Res Microbiol. 2021 Sep-Oct;172(6):103864. doi: 10.1016/j.resmic.2021.103864. Epub 2021 Jul 14.


We created a handmade 3D-printed air sampler to effectively collect live airborne bacteria, and determined which environmental factors influenced the bacteria. Bacterial colony forming units (CFUs) in the air samples (n = 37) were monitored by recording the environmental changes occurring over time, then determining the presence/absence of correlations among such changes. The bacterial CFUs changed sharply and were significantly correlated with the DNA concentrations, indicating that the captured bacteria made up most of the airborne bacteria. Spearman's rank correlation analysis revealed significant correlations between the bacterial CFU values and some environmental factors (humidity, wind speed, insolation, and 24-h rainfall). Similarly the significant associations of CFU with humidity and wind speed were also found by multiple regression analysis with box-cox transformation. Among our panel of airborne bacteria (952 strains), 70 strains were identified as soil-derived Bacillus via the production of Escherichia coli- and Staphylococcus aureus-growth inhibiting antibiotics and by 16S rDNA typing. Soil-derived protozoa were also isolated from the air samples. We conclude that the airborne bacteria mainly derived from soil can alter in number according to environmental changes. Our sampler, which was created by easy-to-customize 3D printing, is a useful device for understanding the dynamics of live airborne bacteria.

Keywords: 3D printing; Air bacteria; Air sampler; Environmental factors; Protozoa.

MeSH terms

  • Air / parasitology
  • Air Microbiology*
  • Amoeba / isolation & purification
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Bacterial Load*
  • Ciliophora / isolation & purification
  • Environmental Monitoring / instrumentation*
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional / instrumentation*
  • Soil / parasitology
  • Soil Microbiology
  • Weather


  • Soil