Fungi are present in virtually all environments and affect us in many ways. Spores of many fungal species have been documented as important causes of allergy when inhaled people who are susceptible individuals. Experts estimate that 20% of the human population is susceptible to fungal spore allergy.
How to and why Trap Airborne Fungal Spores
Airborne fungal spores can be trapped for either culturable or non-culturable analysis. They are commonly trapped from the air to evaluate the potential human exposure to fungal allergens. Fungal spore trapping is also commonly used in crop disease outbreak predictions so that suitable control measures can be undertaken in advance to avoid crop losses. For human exposure, non-culturable methods would be preferred. However for crop disease outbreaks or product damage, culturable methods would be preferred.
Fungi are in Buildings and Homes
Fungi are very commonly found in indoor environments. They grow in buildings with a lot of moisture due to leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or flooding. Fungi grow well on organic materials such as paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Fungi can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery. The most common indoor Fungi are Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus.
Identification and Enumeration of Airborne Fungal Spores
Identification and enumeration of airborne fungal spores are highly specialized skills. The spores come in a wide range of types and sizes, all are microscopic with some as small as two micrometres in size. Many fungi produce only small amounts of spores which rarely get airborne in quantity. However, some species are very prolific and widespread, producing high concentrations of spores which are readily dispersed into the air. Identification of airborne fungal spores is based on spore characteristics such as the size, color, shape, texture and number of cells.
Mold & Bacteria Consulting Laboratories offers a course on how to accurately identify and enumerate a wide variety of airborne spore types and differentiate them from other biological and non-biological particles. These skills will be useful for those intending to analyze, monitor, or study indoor or outdoor airborne fungal spore concentrations. The course is also useful to environmental consulting firms that would like to set up in-house fungal identification laboratories.
Try our Mold Spore Quiz. It’s Fun!!