In this study, an optimized new, simple, low cost method for sampling of airborne viruses using Low Melting Agarose (LMA) plates and a conventional microbial air sampling device has been developed. The use of LMA plates permits the direct nucleic acids extraction of the captured viruses without the need of any preliminary elution step. Molecular detection and quantification of airborne viruses is performed using real-time quantitative (RT-)PCR (Q(RT-)PCR) technique. The method has been tested using Adenoviruses (AdVs) and Noroviruses (NoVs) GII, as representative DNA and RNA viruses, respectively. Moreover, the method has been tested successfully in outdoor experiments, by detecting and quantifying human adenoviruses (HAdVs) in the airborne environment of a wastewater treatment plant.
The great advantage of LMA is that nucleic acids extraction is performed directly on the LMA plates, while the eluted nucleic acids are totally free of inhibitory substances. Coupled with QPCR the whole procedure can be completed in less than three (3) hours.
The article is published online in Virology Journal and is free to access.