Collecting Spore Samples

The training of our field representatives ensures that there is consistency in the sample collection procedures throughout the inspection. Specialized equipment allows us to collect mold spore samples from air and surfaces.

Air-O-Cell Air Sampling Cassette
Air-O-Cell Air Sampling Cassette

Indoor Air Samples

Indoor air samples are collected to determine the levels of airborne mold spores in the air inside the home. The outdoor air is tested at the same time as a baseline for the evaluation of the indoor air samples. The equipment used includes a calibrated air pump, which draws a measured amount of air through an Air-O-Cell cassette, also referred to as a spore trap. The spore trap test results are reported as the number of spores found in a measured volume of air.

Spore trap air samples are not cultured, and test results are referred to as “non-viable”, or not living. This simply means that all spores are counted, whether they are dead* or alive. This test provides a “snapshot” of the air at the time of sampling, and is used to determine the mold types (genera) that are present. In the spore trap, the mold spores are collected on a sticky glass surface, which is examined under a microscope to find the number and types of mold spores present.

In special cases where it is important to identify the exact species of mold present, the air is sampled with the intent of growing the live spores. A collection plate is used to collect the mold spores. The plate contains a material which will allow the mold to grow when placed in an incubator for 7 days. Cultured sample results indicate the number of and type of living spores in the air at the time of sampling.

Surface Samples

If apparent mold growth is found to be growing on a surface, it may be tested using a surface sampling technique. This simply involves using a sticky material, or a moistened swab, to collect some of the apparent mold growth, and sending it to a laboratory for microscopic evaluation.

* It is important to note that people may experience allergic reactions from exposure to both dead and living mold spores. In addition, the toxins that a fungus produces remain effective after the mold or mold spore has died.

Don’t risk exposure to toxic contaminants. If you suspect that you have toxic contaminants in your house, give Bye Bye Mold a call 24/7 at 800.686.1992.

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