Advertisement

Sampling for indoor fungi

      Abstract

      Background

      A great deal of concern has arisen recently regarding the potential adverse effects of indoor fungi. Our understanding of this complex problem has been hampered by a lack of standardized protocols for performing an indoor assessment for fungi. Without such standards, it is difficult to compare results from one study with those from another or to measure the effect of indoor fungal contamination on a building and its occupants.

      Methods

      We reviewed the medical literature and here describe a hypothesis-driven approach to planning, sampling, and interpreting the results of indoor assessments for fungi.

      Results

      Fungi cause 3 primary adverse effects: (1) they can damage a building, (2) they can render a building unpleasant to live in by looking and smelling bad, and (3) they might cause adverse health effects in sensitive individuals. Sampling methods used to test hypotheses include air sampling for spores, measurement of allergens in house dust, and determination of microbially generated volatile organic compounds, ergosterols, glucans, and mycotoxins, as well as environmental conditions that lead to fungal contamination.

      Conclusions

      Standardized approaches for performing and reporting assessments of indoor fungi are essential if our understanding of this complex field is to improve.

      Keywords

      Abbreviations:

      CFU (Colony-forming unit), COC (Chain of custody), EIA (Enzyme immunoassay), MVOC (Microbially generated volatile organic compound)
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      References

      References

        • May JC
        My house is killing me. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore2001
        • Miller JD
        • Rand TG
        • Jarvis BB
        Stachybotrys chartarum: cause of human disease or media darling?.
        Med Mycol. 2003; 41: 271-291
        • Bardana EJ
        • Chapman JA
        • Charlesworth EN
        • Jacobs RL
        • Terr AL
        Crossing over to the dark side of the mold issue: a dissenting view.
        Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2003; 91: 212-215
        • Chapman J
        • Terr A
        • Jacobs RL
        • Charlesworth EN
        • Bardana Jr., EJ
        Toxic mold: phantom risk vs science.
        Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2003; 91: 222-232
        • Bardana E
        Indoor air quality and health does fungal contamination play a significant role?.
        Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2003; 23: 291-309
      1. US Environmental Protection Agency Office of Air and Radiation, (6609-J) IED. Washington, DC: Environmental Protection Agency, Mold remediation in schools and commercial buildings2001 (EPA publication no. 402-K-01-001)
      2. US EPA Office of Air and Radiation, (6609J) IED. A brief guide to mold, moisture, and your home. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC2003 (EPA publication no. 402-K-02-003)
      3. The national Health Museum. Spontaneous generation. Available at: http://www.accessexcellence.org/AB/BC/Spontaneous_Generation.html. Accessed October 15, 2003.

        • Simmons E
        Ancestors of allergy. 1st ed. Global Medical Communications Ltd, New York1994
        • Voorhorst R
        • Spieksma-Boezeman MI
        • Spieksma FT
        Is a mite (Dermatophagoides Sp.) the producer of the house-dust allergen?.
        Allerg Asthma (Leipz). 1964; 10: 329-334
        • Arlian L
        Mites and house dust allergy.
        J Asthma Res. 1976; 13: 165-172
        • Crain E
        • Walter M
        • O' Connor GT
        • Mitchell H
        • Gruchalla RS
        • Kattan M
        • et al.
        Home and allergic characteristics of children with asthma in seven U.S. urban communities and design of an environmental intervention: the Inner-City Asthma Study.
        Environ Health Perspect. 2002; 110: 939-945
        • Belanger K
        • Beckett W
        • Triche EBM
        • Holford TRP
        • McSharry JE
        • Gold DR
        • et al.
        Symptoms of wheeze and persistent cough in the first year of life: associations with indoor allergens, air contaminants, and maternal history of asthma.
        Am J Epidemiol. 2003; 158: 195-202
        • Douwes J
        • Pearce N
        Invited commentary: is indoor mold exposure a risk factor for asthma?.
        Am J Epidemiol. 2003; 158: 203-206
        • Portnoy
        • Flappan S
        • Barnes C
        A standardized procedure for evaluation of the indoor environment.
        Aerobiologia. 2001; 17: 43-48
        • Macher J
        Bioaerosol assessment and control. American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists, Cincinnati (OH)1999
      4. Committee on the Health Effects of Indoor Allergens NRC. Assessing exposure and risk.
        in: Andrew M. Pope RP Harriet Burge Indoor allergens: assessing and controlling adverse health effects. the National Academies Press, Washington, DC1993: 185-205
      5. United States Institute of Medicine Committee on the Assessment of Asthma and Indoor Air.
        Clearing the air: asthma and indoor air exposures. National Academy Press, Washington DC2000
        • Sudakin D
        Toxigenic fungi in a water-damaged building: an intervention study.
        Am J Ind Med. 1998; 34: 183-190
        • Cooley J
        • Wong W
        • Jumper C
        • Straus D
        Correlation between the prevalence of certain fungi and sick building syndrome.
        Occup Environ Med. 1998; 55: 579-584
        • Dales RE
        • Zwanenburg H
        • Burnett R
        • Franklin C
        Respiratory health effects of home dampness and molds among Canadian children.
        Am J Epidemiol. 1991; 134: 196-203
        • Wilkie K
        • Macher J
        Air sampling.
        in: Macher J Bioaerosols assessment and control. ACGHI, Cincinnati1999 (p. 11-1 to 11-25.)
      6. Horner W Assessment of the indoor environment: evaluation of mold growth. 3rd ed. WB Saunders Co, Philadelphia2003
        • Chew G
        • Rogers C
        • Burge H
        • Muilenberg M
        • Gold D
        Dustborne and airborne fungal propagules represent a different spectrum of fungi with differing relations to home characteristics.
        Allergy. 2003; 58: 13-20
        • Cage B
        • Schreiber K
        • Barnes C
        • Portnoy J
        Evaluation of four bioaerosol samplers in the outdoor environment.
        Ann Allergy. 1996; 77: 1-7
        • Riegel C
        • Bridger A
        Fundamentals of atmospheric dynamics and thermodynamics. World Scientific Publishing Co, London1992
        • Fisher F
        • Cook N
        Fundamentals of diagnostic mycology. W.B. Saunders, Philadelphia1998
      7. American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers. Standard 62-1989. The Society, Atlanta (GA)1989
        • Burge H
        Bioaerosols. CRC Press, Inc, Jacksonville, Fla1995
        • Muilenberg ML
        Sampling devices.
        Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2003; 23: 337-355
        • Shelton BG
        • Kirkland KH
        • Flanders WD
        • Morris GK
        Profiles of airborne fungi in buildings and outdoor environments in the United States.
        Appl Environ Microbiol. 2002; 68: 1743-1753
      8. Barnes C, Reddy M, Dinakar C, Portnoy J, Frequency of fungi in homes of allergy clinic patients. Ann Allergy 2003. In press.

        • Chew G
        • Burge H
        • Dockery D
        • Muilenberg M
        • Weiss S
        • Gold D
        Limitations of a home characteristics questionaire as a predictor of indoor allergen levels.
        Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1998; 157: 1536-1541
        • Rogers CA
        Indoor fungal exposure.
        Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2003; 23: 501-518
        • Sakaguchi M
        • Inouye S
        • Irie T
        • Miyazawa H
        • Watanabe M
        • Yasueda H
        • et al.
        Airborne cat (Fel d I), dog (Can f I), and mite (Der I and Der II) allergen levels in the homes of Japan.
        J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1993; 92: 797-802
        • Arlian LG
        • Morgan MS
        • Goelz JF
        Quantitation of dust mites and allergen in small dust samples.
        J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1999; 104: 707-709
        • Eggleston PA
        • Wood RA
        • Rand C
        • Nixon WJ
        • Chen PH
        • Lukk P
        Removal of cockroach allergen from inner-city homes.
        J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1999; 104: 842-846
        • Barnes C
        • Tuck J
        • Simon S
        • Pacheco F
        • Hu F
        • Portnoy J
        Allergenic materials in the house dust of allergy clinic patients.
        Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2001; 86: 517-523
        • Arbes SJ
        • Sever M
        • Archer J
        • Long EH
        • Gore JC
        • Schal C
        • et al.
        Abatement of cockroach allergen (Bla g 1) in low-income, urban housing: a randomized controlled trial.
        J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003; 112: 339-345
        • Lopez-Diaz T
        • BF
        Production of patulin and cytochalasin E by Aspergillus clavatus during malting of barley and wheat.
        Int J Food Microbiol. 1997; 35: 129-136
        • Sebastian A
        • Larsson L
        Characterization of the microbial community in indoor environments: a chemical-analytical approach.
        Appl Environ Microbiol. 2003; 69: 3103-3109
        • Rampitsch C
        • NA
        • JS
        • LM
        Development of a monoclonal antibody-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to quantify soluble beta-glucans in oats and barley.
        J Agric Food Chem. 2003; 51: 5882-5887
        • Matheson M
        • Dharmage SC
        • Forbes AB
        • Raven JM
        • Thien FC
        • Guest DI
        • et al.
        Residential characteristics predict changes in Der p 1, Fel d 1 and ergosterol but not fungi over time.
        Clin Exp Allergy. 2003; 33: 1281-1288
        • Dharmage S
        • MB
        • Raven J
        • Mitakakis T
        • Thien F
        • Forbes A
        • et al.
        Prevalence and residential determinants of fungi within homes in Melbourne, Australia.
        Clin Exp Allergy. 1999; 29: 1481-1489
        • Ruiz-Herrera J
        Biosynthesis of beta-glucans in fungi.
        Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 1991; 60: 72-81
        • Rylander R
        • Holt P
        (1→3)-beta-D-glucan and endotoxin modulate immune response to inhaled allergen.
        Mediators Inflamm. 1998; 7: 105-110
        • Rylander R
        • Lin R
        (1→3)-beta-D-glucan—relationship to indoor air-related symptoms, allergy and asthma.
        Toxicology. 2000; 152: 47-52
        • Schnurer J
        Comparison of methods for estimating the biomass of three food-borne fungi with different growth patterns.
        Appl Environ Microbiol. 1993; 59: 552-555
        • Dharmage S
        • Bailey M
        • Raven J
        • Abeyawickrama K
        • Cao D
        • Guest D
        • et al.
        Mouldy houses influence symptoms of asthma among atopic individuals.
        Clin Exp Allergy. 2002; 32: 714-720
        • Jarvis BB
        • Salemme J
        • Morais A
        Stachybotrys toxins. 1.
        Nat Toxins. 1995; 3: 10-16
        • Johanning E
        Bioaerosols, fungi and mycotoxins: health effects, assessment, prevention and control. Eastern New York OEHC, Albany, NY1999
        • Forgacs J
        • Carll WT
        • Herring AS
        • Hinshaw WR
        Toxicity of Stachybotrys atra for animals.
        Trans N Y Acad Sci. 1958; 20: 787-808
        • Harrach B
        • Bata A
        • Bajmocy E
        • Benko M
        Isolation of satratoxins from the bedding straw of a sheep flock with fatal stachybotryotoxicosis.
        Appl Environ Microbiol. 1983; 45: 1419-1422
        • Rosenbloom M
        • Leikin JB
        • Vogel SN
        • Chaudry ZA
        Biological and chemical agents: a brief synopsis.
        Am J Ther. 2002; 9: 5-14
        • Jarvis BB
        Stachybotrys chartarum: a fungus for our time.
        Phytochemistry. 2003; 64: 53-60
        • Lagana A
        • Curini R
        • D' Ascenzo G
        • De Leva I
        • Faberi A
        • Pastorini E
        Liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry for the identification and determination of trichothecenes in maize.
        Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2003; 17: 1037-1043
        • Flappan SM
        • Portnoy J
        • Jones P
        • Barnes C
        Infant pulmonary hemorrhage in a suburban home with water damage and mold (Stachybotrys atra).
        Environ Health Perspect. 1999; 107: 927-930
        • Hodgson MJ
        • Morey P
        • Leung WY
        • Morrow L
        • Miller D
        • Jarvis BB
        • et al.
        Building-associated pulmonary disease from exposure to Stachybotrys chartarum and Aspergillus versicolor.
        J Occup Environ Med. 1998; 40: 241-249
        • Croft WA
        • Jastromski BM
        • Croft AL
        • Peters HA
        Clinical confirmation of trichothecene mycotoxicosis in patient urine.
        J Environ Biol. 2002; 23: 301-320
        • Elke K
        • Begerow J
        • Oppermann H
        • Kramer U
        • Jermann E
        • Dunemann L
        Determination of selected microbial volatile organic compounds by diffusive sampling and dual-column capillary GC-FID—a new feasible approach for the detection of an exposure to indoor mould fungi?.
        J En-viron Monit. 1999; 1: 445-452
        • Fischer G
        • Dott W
        Relevance of airborne fungi and their secondary metabolites for environmental, occupational and indoor hygiene.
        Arch Microbiol. 2003; 179: 75-82
        • Fischer G
        • Schwalbe R
        • Moller M
        • Ostrowski R
        • Dott W
        Species-specific production of microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC) by airborne fungi from a compost facility.
        Chemosphere. 1999; 39: 795-810