Edward Sobek, Ph.D. President/Technical Director Assured Bio Labs, LLC – Mold Investigation and Sampling Current Perspectives

Air Date: 9-20-2013| Episode: 298

Dr. Sobek is the Director and President of Assured Bio Labs, an AIHA accredited and CDC ELITE Environmental Microbiology laboratory in Oak Ridge TN…

Full Description:

Dr. Sobek is the Director and President of Assured Bio Labs, an AIHA accredited and CDC ELITE Environmental Microbiology laboratory in Oak Ridge TN. He is a PhD microbiologist with 20 years of laboratory and field experience. He specializes in microbial contamination of the built environment.  He is experienced in commercial and residential buildings, health care facilities and manufacturing settings, and serves as an expert witness for the industry. His approach is defined by his clients needs and he has developed an arsenal of molecular based tools to solve complex microbial issues.  His most recent invention is the M-TRAP, which is an advanced 3-D biocapture cassette for mold, bacteria and virus.  He is also active in research, and is currently collaborating with the CDC on several studies, including the Atlanta mold project.
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                                                     Many werewolves but no silver bullet

Ed Sobek, PhD is a very interesting guy, he’s part microbiologist, part inventor, part entrepreneur. He believes in getting out of the lab and into the field and learning from other pros around him. He opines that building investigators need a well stocked toolbox to make thorough building inspections. He has invented and patented the M-Trap an advanced 3 dimensional biocapture cassette for mold, virus and bacteria.

Nuggets mined from today’s episode:

· Building occupants don’t understand microbiology

· Building occupants may not know the consequences of their actions. Investigators should ask building occupants where they think the problem is and what is the cause.

· Building occupants have variable response to MVOCs.

· MVOCs indicate respirable growth is occurring, MVOCs may indicate that competition among species is occurring and may be influenced by components of substrata (binders, etc.). Some secondary metabolites have inherent insecticidal capabilities.

· Outdoor molds and indoor molds are the same. More competition between fungal species occurs outdoors which maintains a balance by keeping species in check. Indoors water intrusion results in chronic and acute exposure to high concentrations of fungi which causes problem for building occupants.

· Just air sampling alone indoors will not pinpoint the location of a problem.

· Recommends the term “suspect material” or “suspect mold” be used by building investigators to describe what appears to be visible mold prior to formal verification.

· ATP sampling misses dormant fungal species

· A laser particle counter can be used to screen a building for worst areas.

· Molecular Entrapment Technology uses a 3 dimensional fibrous matrix treated with sticky proteins to trap microorganism as they pass through it. The proteins add weight to microbes making them heavier, off balance and less aerodynamic.

· Metagenomics sees everything in an environment.

· Successful remediation removes high levels of undesirable microbes and particulate verifiable by post remediation verification and sampling.

· CDC is conducting studies of molds in Atlanta, Kansas City and NYC.

· One stachy spore is a red flag that further investigation needs to be done.

· The limit of detection can never be too low, finding 1 spore means the organism is present.

· Dogs and other animals may have on their bodies high concentrations of endotoxin from outside sources.

· All measurements have some degree of error.

Today’s music: “Growing Mold” by Radioactive Chicken Heads

Z-man signing off