Assessment of aerosol containment on the ELITE flow cytometer.Cytometry. 1995 Mar 15; 22(1):45-7.C
Biohazardous aerosols generated during cell sorting have been of increased concern recently because of interest in sorting specimens containing human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Current flow cytometers have features designed to contain such aerosols within the sorting chamber, but the efficacy of these features has not been established. Therefore, we tested aerosol containment by two ELITE flow cytometers (Coulter Cytometry, Inc., Hialeah, FL) during sorting of specimens containing high titers of bacteriophage. Agar plates confluent with susceptible Escherichia coli were used to detect infectious units released from the sorting chamber. Under recommended operating conditions very few infectious units were released from the sorting chambers. Release increased when the center stream was not optimally collected in a vacuum-exhausted tube or the chamber door was not completely closed. Failure of the negative pressure and high efficiency particle air (HEPA) filtration features had less of an effect. The data indicate that these standard safety features provide a rational expectation of safety for the flow cytometry operator.