Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Charles Bleckmann, PhD


In this experiment, spider webs demonstrated their suitability as passive bioaerosol collectors. For spider webs to be considered suitable passive collectors webs had to satisfy three basic conditions; (1) collection of microorganisms without discrimination based on species or size, (2) collection under variable environmental conditions, and (3) saturation avoidance in the presence of strong microbial launching sources. Four field sampling locations were used, a waste water treatment facility, a commercial garden center, a secluded state park area, and a parking garage. Microscopy cover glass slides were used as the collection instrument. The methodology assured sterility during collection and promoted in situ microbial growth and observation which were important aspects in this study. All collected spider webs revealed microbial growth from both bacteria and fungi species. This experiment paved the way for future use of webs as passive collectors of biological warfare agents and chemical warfare agents.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number


Included in

Microbiology Commons