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Toxicol Ind Health. 2009 Oct-Nov;25(9-10):583-615. doi: 10.1177/0748233709348386. Epub 2009 Sep 30.

The biocontaminants and complexity of damp indoor spaces: more than what meets the eyes.

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National Toxic Encephalopathy Foundation, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.


Nine types of biocontaminants in damp indoor environments from microbial growth are discussed: (1) indicator molds; (2) Gram negative and positive bacteria; (3) microbial particulates; (4) mycotoxins; (5) volatile organic compounds, both microbial (MVOCs) and non-microbial (VOCs); (6) proteins; (7) galactomannans; (8) 1-3-beta-D-glucans (glucans) and (9) lipopolysaccharides (LPS--endotoxins). When mold species exceed those outdoors contamination is deduced. Gram negative bacterial endotoxins, LPS in indoor environments, synergize with mycotoxins. The gram positive Bacillus species, Actinomycetes (Streptomyces, Nocardia and Mycobacterium), produce exotoxins. The Actinomycetes are associated with hypersensitivity pneumonitis, lung and invasive infections. Mycobacterial mycobacterium infections not from M. tuberculosis are increasing in immunocompetent individuals. In animal models, LPS enhance the toxicity of roridin A, satratoxins G and aflatoxin B1 to damage the olfactory epithelium, tract and bulbs (roridin A, satratoxin G) and liver (aflatoxin B1). Aflatoxin B1 and probably trichothecenes are transported along the olfactory tract to the temporal lobe. Co-cultured Streptomyces californicus and Stachybotrys chartarum produce a cytotoxin similar to doxorubicin and actinomycin D (chemotherapeutic agents). Trichothecenes, aflatoxins, gliotoxin and other mycotoxins are found in dust, bulk samples, air and ventilation systems of infested buildings. Macrocyclic trichothecenes are present in airborne particles <2 microm. Trichothecenes and stachylysin are present in the sera of individuals exposed to S. chartarum in contaminated indoor environments. Haemolysins are produced by S. chartarum, Memnoniella echinata and several species of Aspergillus and Penicillium. Galactomannans, glucans and LPS are upper and lower respiratory tract irritants. Gliotoxin, an immunosuppressive mycotoxin, was identified in the lung secretions and sera of cancer patients with aspergillosis produced by A. fumigatus, A. terreus, A. niger and A. flavus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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