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Spores of puffball fungus Lycoperdon pyriforme as a reference standard of stable monodisperse aerosol for calibration of optical instruments

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Anatoliy A Zhirnov
  • Nina Kudryashova
  • Olga B Kudryashova
  • Nataliya V Korovina
  • Anatoliy A Pavlenko
  • Sergey S Titov

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    Rights statement: © 2019 Zhirnov et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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    Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0210754
Number of pages15
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


Advanced air quality control requires real-time monitoring of particulate matter size and concentration, which can only be done using optical instruments. However, such techniques need regular calibration with reference samples. In this study, we suggest that puffball fungus (Lycoperdon pyriforme) spores can be utilized as a reference standard having a monodisperse size distribution. We compare the Lycoperdon pyriforme spores with the other commonly used reference samples, such as Al2O3 powder and polystyrene latex (PSL) microspheres. Here we demonstrate that the puffball spores do not coagulate and, thus, maintain the same particle size in the aerosol state for at least 15 minutes, which is enough for instrument calibration. Moreover, the puffball mushrooms can be stored for several years and no agglomeration of the spores occurs. They are also much cheaper than other calibration samples and no additional devices are needed for aerosol generation since the fungal fruiting body acts as an atomizer itself. The aforementioned features make the fungal spores a highly promising substance for calibration and validation of particle size analyzers, which outperforms the existing, artificially produced particles for aerosol sampling. Furthermore, the L. pyriforme spores are convenient for basic research and development of new optical measurement techniques, taking into account their uniform particle size and absent coagulation in the aerosol.

    Research areas

  • Fungal spores, Aerosols, Instrumentn Calibration, Fungi, Particulates, Scanning electron microscopy, polystyrene, Latex

ID: 96520404