Fusarium

Fusarium species exist as plant pathogens or saprophytes on plant debris and in soil. Plant parasitic Fusarium causes wilting of many plants including crops such as tomatoes, bananas, sweet potatoes, pigeon peas, and pears. Some species of Fusarium are commonly isolated from seeds, especially those of cereals. Species of Fusarium also produce a number of different mycotoxins which include trichothecenes (T-2 toxin, HT-2 toxin, deoxynivalenol (DON) and nivalenol), zearalenone and fumonisins. The Fusarium species are probably the most prevalent toxin-producing fungi in the northern temperate regions and are commonly found on cereals grown in the temperate regions of America, Europe and Asia. These toxins have been shown to cause a variety of toxic effects in both experimental animals and livestock and are also suspected of causing toxicity in humans.

In indoor environments Fusarium species are generally found under very wet conditions. They are commonly isolated from carpet and mattress dust, damp walls, wallpaper, polyester polyurethane foam, humidifier pans and areas where stagnant water occurs in HVAC systems. Some species cause keratitis in humans, and infect eyes and finger nails. Fusarium species are also an inhalation hazard.

Fusarium culmorum

F. culmorum is soilborne and has a worldwide distribution. Indoors, it has been isolated from floor, carpet and mattress dust; damp wall and polyurethane foam.

Health Effects Associated With Fusarium culmorum

Fusarium culmorum is associated with allergy. It also produces vomitoxin, a trichothecene mycotoxin that causes a serious feed refusal and vomiting in animals fed contaminated feed.

Fusarium solani

F. solani is a soil borne fungus found indoors in carpet and mattress dust; damp walls, wallpaper; polyester polyurethane foam; insulating cotton in duct liner; water pipes and humidifiers.

Health Effects Associated With Fusarium solani

F. solani causes keratitis in humans. It is also associated with wounds and infections of the eyes and fingernails. It poses inhalation and deep skin (dermal) inoculation health risks to persons with week immune systems. It also poses health risks related to major barrier breaks such as corneal perforation, major surgery, peritoneal or venous catheter presence, and injection drug use.

Fusarium verticillioides (fomerly called Fusarium moniliforme)

F. verticillioides is soilborne. Indoors, it is found on humidifier pans and other areas where stagnant water occurs in HVAC systems. Also found in mattress dust, and on damp walls.

Health Effects Associated With Fusarium verticillioides

F. verticillioides causes keratitis in humans and invasive mycoses in immunocompromised people. It poses inhalation and deep skin (dermal) inoculation health risks to persons with weak immune systems. F. verticillioides also poses health risks related to major barrier breaks such as corneal perforation, major surgery, peritoneal or venous catheter presence, and injection drug use.

 

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Dr. Jackson Kung’u is a Microbiologist who has specialized in the field of mycology (the study of moulds and yeasts). He is a member of the Mycological Society of America. He graduated from the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK, with a Masters degree in Fungal Technology and a PhD in Microbiology. He has published several research papers in international scientific journals. Jackson has analyzed thousands of mould samples from across Canada. He also regularly teaches a course on how to recognize mould, perform effective sampling and interpret laboratory results. Jackson provides how-to advice on mould and bacteria issues. Get more information about indoor mould and bacteria at http://www.drjacksonkungu.com.
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