Air microbial contamination in dental clinics: comparison between active and passive methods

Air microbial contamination in dental clinics: comparison between active and passive methods


  • Licia Veronesi University of Parma
  • Maria Eugenia Colucci University di Parma
  • Christian Napoli University of Rome
  • Paolo Castiglia University of Sassari
  • Giorgio Liguori University of Naples “Parthenope”
  • Ida Torre University of Napoli “Federico II”
  • Elena Righi University of Modena and Reggio Emilia
  • Patrizia Farruggia Local Health Authority of Bologna
  • Marina Tesauro University of Milan
  • Maria Teresa Montagna University of Bari “ Aldo Moro”
  • Francesca Gallè University of Naples “Parthenope”
  • Maria Dolores Masia University of Sassari
  • Valeria Di Onofrio University of Naples “Parthenope”
  • Giuseppina Caggiano University of Bari “ Aldo Moro”
  • Carola Tinteri University of Genova
  • Manuela Panico Local Health Authority of Bologna
  • Francesca Pennino University of Napoli “Federico II”
  • Lucia Cannova University of Palermo
  • Cesira Pasquarella University di Parma


dental clinic, microbial contamination, air, active sampling, passive sampling, correlation


The aim of this study was to evaluate the correlation between the microbial air contamination values obtained by active sampling (colony-forming units per cubic metre, CFU/m3) and by passive sampling (Index of microbial air contamination, IMA) and to calculate the corresponding equations. Air sampling was performed in ten dental clinics (DC), before (T0), during (T1) and after (T2) the clinical activity, for five consecutive days, once a month for a period of three months, for a total of 450 air samplings. The correlation was evaluated using the Spearman test, and a p value below 0.05 was considered statistically significant. A statistically significant correlation was found considering both the results obtained from the total observations and from the single sampling times, T0, T1 and T2. Different correlation patterns were observed stratifying by DC. Both methods were able to evaluate the microbial air quality and highlight critical situations; therefore, both can be used with this aim. However, in particular during the activity, passive sampling resulted more sensitive, and for its simplicity, economy and standardization by IMA, as suggested by several authors, can be suggested for routine monitoring.


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How to Cite

Veronesi L, Colucci ME, Napoli C, Castiglia P, Liguori G, Torre I, et al. Air microbial contamination in dental clinics: comparison between active and passive methods. Acta Biomed [Internet]. 2020 Apr. 10 [cited 2024 Jul. 22];91(3-S):165-7. Available from: