There is an urgent need for efficient, rapid, and inexpensive collection techniques for pathogen detection in environmental samples. For over 40 years membrane filters have been played an important role in the collection of radiological and chemical samples from the environment. Recently inorganic mesoporous alumina membranes have been developed with high densities of highly uniform size pores. Measurements of the physical properties of membranes with 100 nm and 200 nm pores revealed that a transition state hydrodynamic condition exists in the pores that enhanced the permeability of the membranes to gases. These membranes were also found to maintain a high permeability at relative humidities as high as 98% and to be capable of supporting pressures as high as 65 psi. A high density poly(ethylene glycol) monolayer was grafted to the alumina membranes to minimize the adhesion of aerosols to the membranes. This hybrid membrane allowed B. globigii spores to be extracted from aqueous solutions with 96.7% efficiencies. Multi-day collection runs with a prototype collector demonstrated that an instrument based on these membranes could be operated in complex environmental conditions.