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AMEA vs EMMA: Discover the Best Mycotoxin Testing Method

This photo highlights the issue with testing inhalable mycotoxins using settled dust, as it may not accurately reflect the true levels of harmful mycotoxins in the air. An important comparison between AMEA and EMMA mycotoxin testing methods.

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Currently, when it comes to detecting toxigenic airborne mycotoxins in indoor environments, there are two methods: air samples and dust samples. You might wonder why anyone would test dust to determine the air quality of a home or building. It does seem counterintuitive, doesn’t it? But that’s the problem: how can you accurately determine if the air in an indoor environment is free of mycotoxins if you’re not even testing the air? Fortunately, Respirare Labs has developed an innovative solution called AMEA (Airborne Mycotoxin Environmental Analysis)  that utilizes an air sample and a patented extraction process combined with the industry-recognized ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immuno Assay) for mycotoxin detection and quantification. 

In this article, we will compare Respirare’s AMEA to RealTimeLabs EMMA (Environmental Mold and Mycotoxin Assessment).

Please keep in mind that Respirare Labs focuses on mycotoxin environmental analysis rather than mold speciation. It’s worth noting that multiple molds can produce various mycotoxins, and more than one species of mold can produce the same mycotoxin. Studies have shown that mycotoxins in settled dust are not indicative of having mycotoxins in the indoor air you are breathing. Therefore, identifying the mold species in settled dust won’t provide much insight into the mycotoxins that could be airborne inside a structure.

AMEA Test Overview:

Until this point, testing for mold has only involved analyzing the air for mold spores, which are allergens, and not mycotoxins. Mycotoxins can cause various negative health effects and pose a significant threat to human health. These effects range from acute poisoning to long-term consequences, such as immune deficiency and cancer. The AMEA sampling process and analysis have been developed to identify the eight most prevalent airborne mycotoxins (if present) and assist IEPs in both environmental and health investigations. Air sampling is considered the most effective method for identifying airborne contaminants, particularly when conducted for health concerns, as it provides a better understanding of inhalation exposure than tests using settled dust.

Respirare Labs' AMEA mycotoxin testing equipment provides accurate and reliable results for detecting harmful mycotoxins. This photo showcases the advanced technology and design of the equipment, making it a valuable tool for air quality testing.
Ritacco, Jake. "AMEA Testing Product Display" 09-23-23

Standardized and Consistent:

AMEA testing procedure strictly adheres to industry air sampling standards, which guarantees that the results generated are both reliable and free of potential human error. In order to replicate the typical activity of an indoor environment, the air within the testing room is conditioned through active sampling. Furthermore, the testing process involves a standardized 1-hour sample time at a fixed 2L/min rate, which yields valuable information that can be utilized to conduct risk assessments and determine an individual’s potential exposure to airborne mycotoxins within their indoor environment.


To conduct air samples, AMEA relies on the equipment provided by SKC and from A.P. Buck INC. These two companies are highly respected leaders in the fields of industrial hygiene, environmental air sampling, and occupational safety. They offer top-quality equipment and media, ensuring the highest quality results. The IOM (Institute of Occupational Medicine) Sampler, utilized alongside a Myco-Cassette and A.P. Buck Libra L-4 pump, allows for precise and consistent measurable samples.

Established Background Levels: 

AMEA’s foundation is based on extensive research into the average background levels for indoor airborne mycotoxins. Respirare recognizes the importance of establishing background levels for AMEA testing and how it affects the interpretation of test results. Our extensive research has revealed that most households have average background levels of these toxins, although the exact cause of this is still unknown. We suspect that external factors, cross ventilation, previous water or fungal events, poor ventilation in crowded spaces, and cooking activities involving rotting or drying produce may contribute to this. AMEA background levels are based on a 1-hour air sample taken from homes with adult occupants who have no history of water damage, fungal infestation, or mycotoxin-related illness symptoms. This research has enabled Respirare to set a benchmark for mycotoxin levels in indoor air samples, which is used as a reference to classify the AMEA results as no safe mycotoxin levels have been established.

Implementing ELISA:

Respirare Labs makes use of ELISA testing in addition to a patented extraction method. ELISA is widely considered to be the most effective way of identifying and quantifying mycotoxins due to its high levels of sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy.

The ELISA testing method works by utilizing antibodies that are designed to bind specifically to the mycotoxin of interest. When the sample containing the mycotoxin is introduced to the antibody, the two bind together, producing a measurable signal that can be quantified and analyzed. The specificity of the antibodies used in ELISA testing ensures that false positives are minimized, resulting in more accurate and reliable results.

Overall, ELISA testing is an essential tool for identifying and quantifying mycotoxins in AMEA samples. To ensure the utmost accuracy and standardization, we limit our testing to mycotoxins that have corresponding certified ELISA kits. We prioritize sticking to what has been proven effective in analysis and will continue to do so until there are more certified ELISA kits available for other types of mycotoxins in the future.

Post Remediation Clearance:

In order to ensure the safety of the structure and its occupants, it is imperative that mycotoxin testing be conducted after mold remediation has been completed. Respirare’s research has demonstrated that existing protocols for mold remediation can actually lead to heightened levels of mycotoxins, which underscores the significance of removing mycotoxins as part of the remediation scope of work. To verify that mycotoxin levels are not elevated and validate the habitability of the structure, an AMEA test must be carried out following mold remediation.

Photo of a Swiffer collecting dust - it's not the most effective way to test for mycotoxins in the air. In the Amea vs. Emma article, it's discussed how air testing is a more accurate way to analyze the air you breathe for mycotoxins
Rosenberg, Anthony. "Dirty Duster" Getty Images, 02-08-24, https://www.canva.com/photos/MAEEXUsnrRg/

Collecting Dust is for Swiffers, Not Air Quality Testing

The EMMA test, an acronym for (Environmental Mold and Mycotoxin Assessment), is a process for testing mycotoxins in indoor environments via dust collection. EMMA employs cotton swabs as its primary collection method to gather the recommended dust to sample. However, this poses a problem since the amount of dust on each sample is unknown, resulting in inconsistent measurements. Additionally, EMMA’s testing protocols have no strict standard, and dust samples are collected from areas that have not been cleaned in months or even years. This is not an ideal representation of real-time exposure to mycotoxins, as the settled dust behind refrigerators that has accumulated for years usually does not become significantly airborne through daily activity.

Furthermore, EMMA lacks a post-remediation clearance testing protocol to ensure that mycotoxins have been adequately remediated from the structure.

Although the lab suggests sending in additional dust samples for testing following remediation, it raises questions about where to get the dust if remediation was performed correctly, and how long an IEP should wait for the dust to build up in order to attain those samples. The uncertain time frame and absence of confidence regarding the safety of the building or residence upon reoccupation create a concern.

Vacuum cleaner picking up dust clumps - A comparison of AMEA vs EMMA
tomispin. "Vacuuming dust" Getty Images, 02-08-24, https://www.canva.com/photos/MAC9VCTz67U/

What’s the Difference Between AMEA & EMMA?

Maintaining a healthy living and working environment is of utmost importance in the indoor environmental testing realm, and detecting toxigenic airborne mycotoxins is a key factor in achieving this. Compared to RealTimeLabs EMMA, AMEA boasts several advantages in terms of accuracy, speed, and reliability. AMEA employs air samples instead of dust to detect and quantify current, breathable, airborne mycotoxins.

Each AMEA air sample is collected for one hour at a consistent rate of 2L/min to ensure standardization.

With the fastest turnaround time for lab analysis results on the market at just 3-5 days, AMEA is working tirelessly to further increase this speed. This is particularly crucial for individuals and businesses who require prompt and precise results in order to make informed decisions about their living or working spaces and to return to them as soon as possible. Thus, Respirare Labs is leading the way in indoor environmental mycotoxin testing, providing the necessary tools for ensuring a safe home or building so everyone may breathe with confidence.

Comparison graph of amea vs emma mycotoxin testing analysis, highlighting their differences and similarities.


Respirare Labs’ introduction of AMEA analysis has revolutionized the way airborne mycotoxins are detected and remediated in indoor environments. The patented testing process, which utilizes air samples, provides accurate and reliable results that are useful to assist those suffering from ill-health and their healthcare professionals. By identifying the potential contribution airborne mycotoxins found in indoor environments have on health, AMEA analysis improves the quality of life for many individuals.

Not only does AMEA analysis provide precise and dependable results, but it also presents numerous advantages over EMMA’s settled dust sampling technique. Respirare, on the other hand, directly tests for mycotoxins by drawing samples from the air you inhale indoors. Using IOM samplers to gather inhalable mycotoxins in the breathing zone and combining them with the ELISA analysis that is widely recognized in the industry, Respirare is swiftly establishing itself as the foremost leader in mycotoxin environmental analysis, so people can enjoy their indoor spaces without any worries. 

The comparison between AMEA and EMMA tests should help improve your understanding of the two tests. While both tests are designed to detect mycotoxins, the methods used to collect and analyze the samples are quite different. EMMA tests require a dust sample, which is not an accurate representation of the mycotoxins present in the inhalable air. In contrast, AMEA analysis directly tests the air you are breathing in order to determine your direct exposure risk. 


Driven to Bring Peace of Mind
At Respirare Labs, we are dedicated to providing our customers with the highest level of safety and security in indoor environments where mold mycotoxins are present. Our cutting-edge technology and precise mycotoxin air and surface analysis have established us as the top laboratory in the industry. We understand the importance of minimizing the risk of exposure to harmful chemical mold toxins, which is why we strive to provide our customers with the best possible testing solutions to ensure their homes or buildings are safe and healthy. With our expertise and commitment to excellence, you can trust that you are in good hands with Respirare Labs. To learn more about our services and order a test, please don’t hesitate to contact us using the options available below. Respirare looks forward to confirming whether or not mycotoxins are present in your air.

To learn more about AMEA, kindly click on this link to visit our AMEA page.


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