Airborne pathogens are small microbes that can cause a multitude of diseases (e.g., the common cold, flu, asthma, anthrax, tuberculosis, botulism, and pneumonia). As pathogens are transmitted from infected hosts via a number of routes (e.g., aerosolization, sneezing, and coughing), there is a great demand to accurately monitor their presence and behavior. Despite such need, conventional detection methods (e.g., colony counting, immunoassays, and various molecular techniques) generally suffer from a number of demerits (e.g., complex, time-consuming, and labor-intensive nature). To help overcome such limitations, nanomaterial-based biosensors have evolved as alternative candidates to realize portable, rapid, facile, and direct on-site identification of target microbes. In this review, nano-biosensors developed for the detection of airborne pathogens are listed and discussed in reference to conventional options. The prospects for the development of advanced nano-biosensors with enhanced accuracy and portability are also discussed.
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