The application of bar-codes to the microbiological air monitoring procedures can help save time, to better control the activity of the operator and to achieve a complete traceability of the test.
The Air sampler
The air sampling instrument should be completed with a bar-code reader, a bar-code printer, a bar-code label.
The bar-code system preparation
Four different points should be identified with bar-code labels:
(a) The plates with the sterile medium (Contact Plates or Petri dishes)
(b) The air sampler
(c) The operator (the label could be fixed on the lab coat of the operator)
(d) The location of the sampling (the label could be fixed on the door of the location or on the wall close to the sampling point).
The Sampling protocol
The description here reported is only an example because different locations or premises may have different needs.
(1) The operator switches on the air sampler and identifies himself pointing the bar-code reader on his identifying label.
(2) The operator identifies the plate pointing the bar-code reader on the plate label.
(3) The operator identifies the air sampler pointing the bar-code on the air sampler label. (This phase may not be necessary in case just a single air sampler is used).
(4) The operator identifies the location pointing the bar-code reader on the door or wall or surface label.
(5) The operator transfers the sterile Contact Plate or Petri dish into the aspiration chamber of the air sampler, removes the plate lid and applies the sterile aspiration head.
(6) The operator presses GO / START on the air sampler to collect the expected volume of air.
It is suggested to adopt the same volume of air for the same type of environment and condition, to avoid the operator having to change the volumes. If it is necessary to have different volumes, it’s suggested to plan different sessions of sampling for each different volume.
(7) The operator opens the aspiration chamber, applies the plate lid and collects the plate to be transferred to the laboratory.
Data Sampling Collection
All the sampling data are collected and printed from the air sampler (identification number, date, hour, location, operator, volume of air).