July 10, 2015

So what exactly is in the air that we breathe?

(July 10, 2015)  We can’t see them, but the air that we breathe contains a wealth of biological particles which could damage our health.

Scientists at the University of Essex have embarked on a three-year project to find new ways of analysing air samples more quickly and accurately than ever before. The methods developed from the research will offer guidance for addressing public health or major infection outbreaks.

From viruses and pollen to bacteria and fungal spores – these bio-aerosols are all around us and come from a range of sources.

Funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the £700,000 project will involve the Essex team and colleagues at Cranfield University measuring and analysing emissions from a range of locations including urban, agricultural, industrial and bio-waste management sites.

Led by air pollution expert Professor Ian Colbeck, from the School of Biological Sciences. the researchers will be looking at finding modern techniques to robustly analyse air samples in a far quicker and more efficient way than relying on current slower, conventional methods which involve growing cultures in the laboratory.

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