skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Perspective on Improving Environmental Monitoring of Biothreats

Abstract

For more than a decade, the United States has performed environmental monitoring by collecting and analyzing air samples for a handful of biological threat agents (BTAs) in order to detect a possible biological attack. This effort has faced numerous technical challenges including timeliness, sampling efficiency, sensitivity, specificity, and robustness. The cost of city-wide environmental monitoring using conventional technology has also been a challenge. A large group of scientists with expertise in bioterrorism defense met to assess the objectives and current efficacy of environmental monitoring and to identify operational and technological changes that could enhance its efficacy and cost-effectiveness, thus enhancing its value. The highest priority operational change that was identified was to abandon the current concept of city-wide environmental monitoring because the operational costs were too high and its value was compromised by low detection sensitivity and other environmental factors. Instead, it was suggested that the focus should primarily be on indoor monitoring and secondarily on special-event monitoring because objectives are tractable and these operational settings are aligned with likelihood and risk assessments. The highest priority technological change identified was the development of a reagent-less, real-time sensor that can identify a potential airborne release and trigger secondary tests of greatermore » sensitivity and specificity for occasional samples of interest. This technological change could be transformative with the potential to greatly reduce operational costs and thereby create the opportunity to expand the scope and effectiveness of environmental monitoring.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1505947
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-141654
Journal ID: ISSN 2296-4185
DOE Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 2296-4185
Publisher:
Frontiers Research Foundation
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Dunbar, John, Pillai, Segaran, Wunschel, David, Dickens, Michael, Morse, Stephen A., Franz, David, Bartko, Andrew, Challacombe, Jean, Persons, Timothy, Hughes, Molly A., Blanke, Steve R., Holland, Robin, Hutchison, Janine, Merkley, Eric D., Campbell, Katrina, Branda, Catherine S., Sharma, Shashi, Lindler, Luther, Anderson, Kevin, and Hodge, David. Perspective on Improving Environmental Monitoring of Biothreats. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.3389/fbioe.2018.00147.
Dunbar, John, Pillai, Segaran, Wunschel, David, Dickens, Michael, Morse, Stephen A., Franz, David, Bartko, Andrew, Challacombe, Jean, Persons, Timothy, Hughes, Molly A., Blanke, Steve R., Holland, Robin, Hutchison, Janine, Merkley, Eric D., Campbell, Katrina, Branda, Catherine S., Sharma, Shashi, Lindler, Luther, Anderson, Kevin, & Hodge, David. Perspective on Improving Environmental Monitoring of Biothreats. United States. doi:10.3389/fbioe.2018.00147.
Dunbar, John, Pillai, Segaran, Wunschel, David, Dickens, Michael, Morse, Stephen A., Franz, David, Bartko, Andrew, Challacombe, Jean, Persons, Timothy, Hughes, Molly A., Blanke, Steve R., Holland, Robin, Hutchison, Janine, Merkley, Eric D., Campbell, Katrina, Branda, Catherine S., Sharma, Shashi, Lindler, Luther, Anderson, Kevin, and Hodge, David. Tue . "Perspective on Improving Environmental Monitoring of Biothreats". United States. doi:10.3389/fbioe.2018.00147.
@article{osti_1505947,
title = {Perspective on Improving Environmental Monitoring of Biothreats},
author = {Dunbar, John and Pillai, Segaran and Wunschel, David and Dickens, Michael and Morse, Stephen A. and Franz, David and Bartko, Andrew and Challacombe, Jean and Persons, Timothy and Hughes, Molly A. and Blanke, Steve R. and Holland, Robin and Hutchison, Janine and Merkley, Eric D. and Campbell, Katrina and Branda, Catherine S. and Sharma, Shashi and Lindler, Luther and Anderson, Kevin and Hodge, David},
abstractNote = {For more than a decade, the United States has performed environmental monitoring by collecting and analyzing air samples for a handful of biological threat agents (BTAs) in order to detect a possible biological attack. This effort has faced numerous technical challenges including timeliness, sampling efficiency, sensitivity, specificity, and robustness. The cost of city-wide environmental monitoring using conventional technology has also been a challenge. A large group of scientists with expertise in bioterrorism defense met to assess the objectives and current efficacy of environmental monitoring and to identify operational and technological changes that could enhance its efficacy and cost-effectiveness, thus enhancing its value. The highest priority operational change that was identified was to abandon the current concept of city-wide environmental monitoring because the operational costs were too high and its value was compromised by low detection sensitivity and other environmental factors. Instead, it was suggested that the focus should primarily be on indoor monitoring and secondarily on special-event monitoring because objectives are tractable and these operational settings are aligned with likelihood and risk assessments. The highest priority technological change identified was the development of a reagent-less, real-time sensor that can identify a potential airborne release and trigger secondary tests of greater sensitivity and specificity for occasional samples of interest. This technological change could be transformative with the potential to greatly reduce operational costs and thereby create the opportunity to expand the scope and effectiveness of environmental monitoring.},
doi = {10.3389/fbioe.2018.00147},
journal = {Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology},
issn = {2296-4185},
number = ,
volume = 6,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {10}
}

Works referenced in this record:

Evaluating Detection of an Inhalational Anthrax Outbreak
journal, January 2006

  • Buckeridge, David; Owens, Douglas; Switzer, Paul
  • Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 12, Issue 12
  • DOI: 10.3201/eid1212.060331

Culture-Independent Diagnostics for Health Security
journal, June 2016

  • Doggett, Norman A.; Mukundan, Harshini; Lefkowitz, Elliot J.
  • Health Security, Vol. 14, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1089/hs.2015.0074

The Infectious Dose of Francisella Tularensis (Tularemia)
journal, December 2005


Cultivation-Free Raman Spectroscopic Investigations of Bacteria
journal, May 2017

  • Lorenz, Björn; Wichmann, Christina; Stöckel, Stephan
  • Trends in Microbiology, Vol. 25, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.tim.2017.01.002

Temporal variability and effect of environmental variables on airborne bacterial communities in an urban area of Northern Italy
journal, October 2012

  • Bertolini, Valentina; Gandolfi, Isabella; Ambrosini, Roberto
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol. 97, Issue 14
  • DOI: 10.1007/s00253-012-4450-0

Seasonal variability of bacteria in fine and coarse urban air particulate matter
journal, December 2010

  • Franzetti, Andrea; Gandolfi, Isabella; Gaspari, Eleonora
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol. 90, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1007/s00253-010-3048-7

Identification of water pathogens by Raman microspectroscopy
journal, January 2014


Mechanistic Modeling of Emergency Events: Assessing the Impact of Hypothetical Releases of Anthrax
journal, June 2008


The application of Raman spectroscopy for the detection and identification of microorganisms: Raman spectroscopy for microorganism detection and identification
journal, December 2015

  • Stöckel, Stephan; Kirchhoff, Johanna; Neugebauer, Ute
  • Journal of Raman Spectroscopy, Vol. 47, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1002/jrs.4844

Biological agent detection and identification by the Block II Chemical Biological Mass Spectrometer
journal, January 2001

  • Griest, Wayne H.; Wise, Marcus B.; Hart, Kevin J.
  • Field Analytical Chemistry & Technology, Vol. 5, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1002/fact.1019

The Economic Impact of a Bioterrorist Attack: Are Prevention and Postattack Intervention Programs Justifiable?
journal, June 1997


Annual Variations in the Diversity, Viability, and Origin of Airborne Bacteria
journal, March 2010

  • Fahlgren, C.; Hagstrom, A.; Nilsson, D.
  • Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Vol. 76, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1128/AEM.02092-09

Intuitive Label-Free SERS Detection of Bacteria Using Aptamer-Based in Situ Silver Nanoparticles Synthesis
journal, August 2017


Advancing the Use of Emergency Department Syndromic Surveillance Data, New York City, 2012-2016
journal, July 2017

  • Lall, Ramona; Abdelnabi, Jasmine; Ngai, Stephanie
  • Public Health Reports, Vol. 132, Issue 1_suppl
  • DOI: 10.1177/0033354917711183

Evaluating and implementing temporal, spatial, and spatio-temporal methods for outbreak detection in a local syndromic surveillance system
journal, September 2017


Modeling Urban Atmospheric Anthrax Spores Dispersion: Assessment of Health Impacts and Policy Implications
journal, January 2011

  • Nicogossian, Arnauld; Schintler, Laurie A.; Boybeyi, Zafer
  • World Medical & Health Policy, Vol. 3, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.2202/1948-4682.1188

Emergency response to an anthrax attack
journal, March 2003

  • Wein, L. M.; Craft, D. L.; Kaplan, E. H.
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 100, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0636861100

Indoor airborne bacterial communities are influenced by ventilation, occupancy, and outdoor air source
journal, May 2013

  • Meadow, J. F.; Altrichter, A. E.; Kembel, S. W.
  • Indoor Air, Vol. 24, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1111/ina.12047

Anhydrobiosis
journal, October 1992


Reagentless Detection and Classification of Individual Bioaerosol Particles in Seconds
journal, January 2004

  • Fergenson, David P.; Pitesky, Maurice E.; Tobias, Herbert J.
  • Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 76, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1021/ac034467e

The effects of meteorological factors on atmospheric bioaerosol concentrations—a review
journal, June 2004


Degradation of Biological Weapons Agents in the Environment:  Implications for Terrorism Response
journal, April 2005

  • Stuart, Amy L.; Wilkening, Dean A.
  • Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 39, Issue 8
  • DOI: 10.1021/es048705e

Optimization of quartz tube pyrolysis atmospheric pressure ionization mass spectrometry for the generation of bacterial biomarkers
journal, January 2001

  • Tripathi, Ashish; Maswadeh, Waleed M.; Snyder, A. Peter
  • Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, Vol. 15, Issue 18
  • DOI: 10.1002/rcm.427

A study on identification of bacteria in environmental samples using single-cell Raman spectroscopy: feasibility and reference libraries
journal, December 2015

  • Baritaux, Jean-Charles; Simon, Anne-Catherine; Schultz, Emmanuelle
  • Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Vol. 23, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1007/s11356-015-5953-x

Indoor air bacterial communities in Hong Kong households assemble independently of occupant skin microbiomes: Household air bacteria differ from occupant skin
journal, June 2015

  • Wilkins, David; Leung, Marcus HY; Lee, Patrick KH
  • Environmental Microbiology, Vol. 18, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.12889

Raman spectroscopic identification of single bacterial cells at different stages of their lifecycle
journal, September 2016


The Evolution of BioSense: Lessons Learned and Future Directions
journal, July 2017

  • Gould, Deborah W.; Walker, David; Yoon, Paula W.
  • Public Health Reports, Vol. 132, Issue 1_suppl
  • DOI: 10.1177/0033354917706954

Electronic Syndromic Surveillance for Influenza-Like Illness Across Treatment Settings
journal, December 2016

  • Ridgway, Jessica P.; Lauderdale, Diane; Thisted, Ronald
  • Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, Vol. 38, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1017/ice.2016.299

Pyrolysis mass spectrometry for distinguishing potential hoax materials from bioterror agents
journal, January 2006

  • Wilkes, Jon G.; Rafii, Fatemeh; Sutherland, John B.
  • Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, Vol. 20, Issue 16
  • DOI: 10.1002/rcm.2604

Chamber Bioaerosol Study: Outdoor Air and Human Occupants as Sources of Indoor Airborne Microbes
journal, May 2015


Biological Warfare and Bioterrorism: A Historical Review
journal, October 2004


SERS Detection of Bacteria in Water by in Situ Coating with Ag Nanoparticles
journal, January 2014

  • Zhou, Haibo; Yang, Danting; Ivleva, Natalia P.
  • Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 86, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1021/ac402935p

Project BioShield: What It Is, Why It Is Needed, and Its Accomplishments So Far
journal, July 2007

  • Russell, Philip K.
  • Clinical Infectious Diseases, Vol. 45, Issue Supplement_1
  • DOI: 10.1086/518151

Seasonal Variability in Bacterial and Fungal Diversity of the Near-Surface Atmosphere
journal, October 2013

  • Bowers, Robert M.; Clements, Nicholas; Emerson, Joanne B.
  • Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 47, Issue 21
  • DOI: 10.1021/es402970s

Analyzing Bioterror Response Logistics: The Case of Anthrax
journal, May 2005

  • Craft, David L.; Wein, Lawrence M.; Wilkins, Alexander H.
  • Management Science, Vol. 51, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.1040.0348

Rapid detection of Bacillus spore aerosol particles by direct in situ analysis using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry
journal, May 2014

  • Jeong, Y. -S.; Choi, S.; Chong, E.
  • Letters in Applied Microbiology, Vol. 59, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1111/lam.12261

Walls talk: Microbial biogeography of homes spanning urbanization
journal, February 2016

  • Ruiz-Calderon, Jean F.; Cavallin, Humberto; Song, Se Jin
  • Science Advances, Vol. 2, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501061