Moore's buffer


January 24, 2022

Moore swab is an environmental surveillance method that has long been used by healthcare professionals around the world to detect and isolate enteric pathogens - which can be found in biological materials such as feces or urine - detectable in both waste and non-waste water.


Moore's swab was first described by Brendan Moore in 1946 to trace Salmonella Paratyphi B from wastewater in North Devon, England, in order to determine the sources of infection responsible for sporadic outbreaks of paratyphoid fever. It was later used extensively to detect various pathogens excreted in waters, such as coxsackie viruses, polioviruses, human noroviruses, E. coli O157: H7, vibrio cholerae O1 and salmonella typhi. Over the years, the technique, once used to track chronic carriers of Salmonella Paratyphi B, has expanded to environmental surveillance, the study of ongoing epidemics and the detection of pathogens in a range of drinking and wastewater. Since 2020, the swab has been used for research in wastewater for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Manufacturing and use

Moore's buffer acts as a filter to collect and retain microorganisms for an extended period of time. It is made up of a strip of cotton gauze about 120 cm long and about 15 cm wide, folded in half 3 times until it takes the shape of a square pad of 15 cm on each side. This pad is then tied along the midline with nylon thread or fishing line and, if appropriate, autoclaved. Some manufacturing variants foresee cuts along the body of the pad thus constructed, or the binding at one end rather than at the median. The buffers thus prepared are immersed in the sewage of the sewerage system in predefined draft points in order to intercept the possible presence of pathogens upstream of the sampling point. This type of sampling operates in a different way than single volume grab sampling. The latter, in fact, acts as a photograph on the substrate taken, where the Moore swab returns a historical cross-section, for the time of immersion, of the presence and development of pathogens.

Further literature

Sally Kelly, Johan Winsser and Warren Winkelstein, Jr., Poliomyelitis and Other Enteric Viruses in Sewage, in American Journal of Public Health and the Nation's Health, vol. 47, n. 1, Washington, American Public Health Association, January 1957, pp. 72-77, DOI: 10.2105 / ajph.47.1.72. (EN) Jan Zdražílek, Helena Šrámová and Věra Hoffmanová, Comparison of Poliovirus Detection in Sewage and Stool Samples; A Study in a Crèche in the Third Week After Vaccination, in International Journal of Epidemiology, vol. 6, no. 2, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1977, pp. 169–172, DOI: 10.1093 / ije / 6.2.169, ISSN 0300-5771, PMID 197033. (EN) Michael H. Merson, William T. Martin, John P. Craig, George K. Morris, Paul A. Blake, Günther F. Craun, John C. Feeley, Joaqín C. Camacho and Eugene J. Gangarosa, Cholera on Guam, 1974: Epidemiologic Findings and Isolation of Non-Toxicogenic Strains, in American Journal of Epidemiology, vol. 105, n. 4, Oxford, 1 April 1977, pp. 349–361, DOI: 10.1093 / oxfordjournals.aje.a112393, ISSN 1476-6256, PMID 848485. (EN) T.J. Barrett, P.A. Blake, G.K. Morris, N.D. Puhr, H.B. Bradford and J.G. Wells, Use of Moore Swabs for Isolating Vibrio Cholerae from Sewage, in Journal of Clinical Microbiology, vol. 11, n. 4, Washington, American Society for Microbiology, 1980, pp. 385–88, DOI: 10.1128 / jcm.11.4.385-388.1980, ISSN 0095-1137. (EN) Center for Disease Control, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, vol. 30, n. 21, Washington, United States Department of Health and Human Services, June 5, 1981. (EN) Cyrus H. Simanjuntak and et al., Safety, Immunogenicity, and Transmissibility of Single

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