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Sci Total Environ. 2003 Aug 1;312(1-3):89-101.

A pilot investigation into associations between indoor airborne fungal and non-biological particle concentrations in residential houses in Brisbane, Australia.

Author information

1
School of Life Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane QLD 4001, Australia.

Abstract

Indoor air contains a complex mixture of bioaerosols such as fungi, bacteria and allergens, as well as non-biological particles including products from various combustion processes. To date little work has been done to investigate the interactions and associations between particles of biological and non-biological origin, however, any occurring interactions could affect pollutant behaviour in the air and ultimately the effect they have on health. The aim of this work was to examine associations between the concentration levels of airborne particles and fungi measured in 14 residential suburban houses in Brisbane. The most frequently isolated fungal genus was Cladosporium, Curvularia, Alternaria, Fusarium and Penicillium. The average outdoor and indoor (living room) concentrations of fungal colony forming units were 1133+/-759 and 810+/-389, respectively. Average outdoor and indoor (normal ventilation) concentrations of submicrometre and supermicrometre particles were 23.8 x 10(3) and 21.7 x 10(3) (particles/cm(3)), 1.78 and 1.74 (particles/cm(3)), respectively. The study showed that no statistically significant associations between the fungal spore and submicrometre particle concentrations or PM(2.5) were present, while a weak but statistically significant relationship was found between fungal and supermicrometre particle concentrations (for the outdoors R(2)=0.4, P=0.03 and for a living room R(2)=0.3, P=0.04). A similarity in behaviour between the submicrometre particle and fungal spore concentrations was that the fungal spore concentrations were related directly to the distance from the source (a nearby park), in a very similar way in which the submicrometre particles originating from vehicle emissions from a road, were dependent on the distance to the road. In the immediate proximity to the park, fungal concentrations rose up to approximately 3100 CFU/m(3), whereas for houses more than 150 m away from the park the concentrations of fungi were below 1000 CFU/m(3). Recommendations have been provided as the future study designs to gain a deeper insight into the relationships between biological and non-biological particles.

PMID:
12873402
DOI:
10.1016/S0048-9697(03)00169-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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