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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1975 Sep;56(3):235-42.

Assessing fungus prevalence in domestic interiors.


Single-plate, Andersen sampler collections of mesonphilic imperfect fungi were made at three points in and immediately outside a series of midwestern homes. During frost-free periods, emanations of dark-spored form genera predominated at both points with indoor levels averaging 25% of those in outside air. At these times, volumetric recoveries and those by 30-min exposure of open culture plates have correlated tenuously (r = 0.29) in bedroom air of 20 homes. During winter, form species of Penicillium, Aspergillus, Oospora, Sporothrix, yeasts, etc. predominated indoors, with levels exceeding 1,000 particles/M3 noted in over 18% of homes; outdoor concentrations never exceeded 230 particles/M3. Comparisons of volumetric and open-plate recoveries from 50 homes during winter have revealed an almost random relationship (r = 0.06). These findings reflect the case with which outdoor spore clouds may penetrate structures and obscure evidence of internal fungus cources. The data also imply that, because of size-related undersampling, open plates often seriously misrepresent prevalence levels and occasionally can exclude abundant types from recovery. The fungus flora of enclosed spaces merits further critical study by volumetric techniques of calculable efficiency in a setting that minimizes contamination from without.

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