Send to

Choose Destination
Sci Total Environ. 2004 Jun 29;326(1-3):123-41.

Airborne viable, non-viable, and allergenic fungi in a rural agricultural area of India: a 2-year study at five outdoor sampling stations.

Author information

Division of Palynology and Environmental Biology, Department of Botany, Bose Institute, 93/1 Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road, Kolkata (Calcutta) 700 009, India.


The information on airborne allergenic fungal flora in rural agricultural areas is largely lacking. Adequate information is not available to the bioaerosol researchers regarding the choice of single versus multiple sampling stations for the monitoring of both viable and non-viable airborne fungi. There is no long-term study estimating the ratios of viable and non-viable fungi in the air and earlier studies did not focus on the fractions of airborne allergenic fungi with respect to the total airborne fungal load. To fill these knowledge gaps, volumetric paired assessments of airborne viable and non-viable fungi were performed in five outdoor sampling stations during two consecutive years in a rural agricultural area of India. Samples were collected at 10-day intervals by the Burkard Personal Slide Sampler and the Andersen Two-Stage Viable Sampler. The data on the concentrations of total and individual fungal types from five stations and 2 different years were analyzed and compared by statistical methods. The allergenicity of the prevalent airborne viable fungi was estimated by the skin-prick tests of >100 rural allergy patients using the antigenic fungal extracts from isolates collected with the Andersen sampler. The ranges of total fungal spore concentration were 82-2365 spores per cubic meter of air (spores/m3) in the first sampling year and 156-2022 spores/m3 in the second sampling year. The concentration ranges of viable fungi were 72-1796 colony-forming units per cubic meter of air (CFU/m3) in the first sampling year and 155-1256 CFU/m3 in the second sampling year. No statistically significant difference was observed between the total spore data of the 2 years, however, the data between five stations showed a significant difference (P<0.0001). No statistically significant difference existed between stations and years with respect to the concentration of viable fungi. When the data of individual allergenic fungal concentrations were compared between stations and years, no statistically significant difference was observed in all cases except for Aspergillus japonicus and Rhizopus nigricans, which showed significant difference in case of stations and years, respectively. The ratios between the total fungal spores collected by the Burkard sampler and the viable fungi collected by the Andersen sampler from all sampling stations ranged between 0.29 and 7.61. The antigenic extracts of eight prevalent viable airborne fungi (A. flavus, A. japonicus, A. fumigatus, Alternaria alternata, Cladosporium cladosporioides, Curvularia pallescens, Fusarium roseum, and R. nigricans) demonstrated >60% positive reactions in the skin prick test. These selected allergenic fungi collectively represented 31.7-63.2% of the total airborne viable fungi in different stations. The study concluded that: (i) a rich fungal airspora existed in the rural study area, (ii) to achieve representative information on the total airborne fungal spores of an area, the monitoring in multiple sampling stations is preferable over a single sampling station; for viable fungi, however, one station can be considered, (iii) the percentage of airborne fungal viability is higher in rural agricultural areas, and (iv) approximately 52% of the viable airborne fungi in the rural study area were allergenic.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center