Although the most reliable techniques for determining total bacterial numbers in populations recovered from aerosols are based on radioactive tracers, non-isotopic methods must be used for certain purposes. A tracer technique based on the enzyme galactosidase was developed for the determination of bacterial numbers in samples containing strain B organisms 1 to 2 × 10/ml. By using the [C]-tracer technique as a reference standard, the enzyme method was shown to be unaffected by the relative humidity at which the aerosol was stored and by the viability of the recovered population and to be scarcely affected by the age of the bacterial cloud. The principle of this method may be applied to other organisms and other suitable enzymes.


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