03:33 GMT03 March 2021
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    Researchers at Tyumen State University (TSU) have developed a method for controlling and stabilising clusters of evaporating water droplets – a tool to study natural processes in atmospheric aerosols that is basically a natural “biological reactor". The research article was published by the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.

    Condensed microdroplets play a crucial part in nature. They are involved in various phenomena, from water harvesting by plants and insects to microorganism migration in bioaerosols. Under certain conditions (locally heated water) they can form patterns, a rising monolayer of droplet clusters over a heated water layer (2D-aerosols).

    Droplet clusters were discovered by Tyumen Unversity scientists in 2004, and they are the subject of this current research. Methods to control and stabilise droplet clusters make them suitable for the in situ analysis of bioaerosols. This is important to help understand the airborne transmission of microorganisms. Direct observation using traditional methods has not been possible so far.

    “We are the first to present the results of direct observation of microorganisms inoculated in water droplets. We have designed a unique technology to study the most complicated processes in aerosols at a previously unavailable level  – in a separated continuously monitored aerosol microdroplet, which makes it possible, for instance, to observe living bacteria cells", Alexander Fedorets told RIA Novosti. Fedorets is the head of the Tyumen University X-BIO Institute’s microhydrodynamic technologies laboratory.

    The researchers have plans to improve the new aerosol observation instrument and conduct in-depth research with microbiologists.

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