Some factors affecting airborne survival of Pseudomonas fluorescens indoors

J Appl Bacteriol. 1993 Jul;75(1):35-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.1993.tb03404.x.


The effect of relative humidity (RH) on the airborne survival of a Pseudomonas fluorescens strain was studied at 20, 40, 60 and 80% RH indoors. The aero-stable spore of Bacillus subtilis subsp. niger, used as a tracer of physical losses was compared with a light scattering particle counter, as there were doubts about the reliability of the spore as tracer. The Rion counter was validated before use and found to give a good estimate of relative physical losses providing spray suspensions contained between 10(7) and 10(9) cfu ml-1 cells and that the humidity was not more than 80% RH. Pseudomonas fluorescens, strain P+S+, suspended in distilled water survived best at mid humidities and least at 80% RH. When suspended in 1% glycerol there was an apparent 'increase' in viability after an initial rapid reduction. This was thought to be due to delay in equilibration of glycerol in the cell membrane after concentration on dehydration. The cells were thought to be unstable and sensitive to the stress of rehydration before equilibration occurred. The findings are discussed in relation to Cox's theories of outer membrane damage on aerosolization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols
  • Air Microbiology*
  • Air Pollution, Indoor*
  • Colony Count, Microbial / methods
  • Humidity
  • Pseudomonas fluorescens / growth & development*
  • Time Factors


  • Aerosols