Characterization of aerosols produced by cell sorters and evaluation of containment.Cytometry A. 2011 Dec; 79(12):1000-8.C
Despite the recognition of potential aerosol hazards associated with cell sorting by the flow cytometry community, there has been no previous study that has thoroughly characterized the aerosols that can be produced by cell sorters. In this study, an aerodynamic particle sizer was used to determine the concentration and aerodynamic diameter (AD) of aerosols produced by a FACS Aria II cell sorter under various conditions. Aerosol containment and evacuation were also evaluated using this novel methodology. The results showed that high concentrations of aerosols in the range of 1-3 μm can be produced in fail mode and that with decreased sheath pressure, aerosol concentration decreased and AD increased. Although the engineering controls of the FACS Aria II for containment were effective, sort chamber evacuation of aerosols following a simulated nozzle obstruction was ineffective. However, simple modifications to the FACS Aria II are described that greatly improved sort chamber aerosol evacuation. The results of this study will facilitate the risk assessment of cell sorting potentially biohazardous samples by providing much needed data regarding aerosol production and containment.