Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

David A. Smith, PhD.


The XMX/2L-MIL is a high volume air sampler used by the Air Force Bioenvironmental Engineering community to collect biological aerosols. Without a verified decontamination technique, however, the XMX cannot be used effectively. The objective of this study was to evaluate several proposed methods for expedient field decontamination of the XMX. This study centered on the inactivation of Bacillus atrophaeus spores and vegetative Erwinia herbicola organisms from the XMX inner canister. The goals in this investigation were twofold: 1) to verify the antimicrobial efficacy of a 10% bleach solution and 2) to determine if wiping the components with a bleach-soaked paper towel or submerging the components directly in the bleach solution represents the optimal decontamination procedure. Data was gathered at the Dycor Technologies facility located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Their Aerosol Test Chamber was used to disseminate the surrogate agents and then sample the aerosol using three XMX devices. Counts of the microbial population were calculated at each stage of the procedure to assess the efficacy of the two proposed methods. It was observed that 10% bleach solutions resulted in approximately 102-fold decreases in aggregate microbial contamination on XMX components. Of the methods tested, the submersion in a 10% bleach solution plus a 15-minute air purge showed the most efficiency. Contamination levels were consistent between all three devices during the trial and were measured at or below background levels after decontamination.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number