Air filtration as pathogen protection for pigs

Nikki Goss, biological safety and research manager at AAF, verifies whether air filters provide protection from airborne pathogens that can devastate entire swine herds. Working with luminaries in swine industry research from the University of Minnesota, Goss applies their academic research tests to real-world filter testing, seeking to calculate particle penetration of various air filters.

In particular, Goss determines whether particles the size of viruses, such as porcine respiratory and reproductive swine virus (PPRSv) and influenza, can penetrate air filters. However, because these viruses frequently travel on larger airborne particles, she also tracks the penetration of particles in the size range of those to which viruses are most likely to become attached.

Additionally, depending upon the type of media in the filter, the filter’s ability to prevent viral penetration could increase or decrease over time. Therefore, Goss collects used swine barn filters to test them for viral protection and catalog the results. These unique testing capabilities, available only from AAF in the air filtration industry, earned Goss a prominent place in a National Hog Farmer article.

A microbiologist by trade, Goss operates the biological laboratory at the Clean Air Innovation & Research Center (CAC). This lab achieved a designation as a Biosafety Level 2 facility from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the last year and conducts research in other life science fields as well as agriculture.

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