Literature has suggested association between damp environments, microbial exposure, and higher prevalence of respiratory symptoms and diseases. The study began by evaluating the airborne fungal concentrations at urban and suburban areas of a typical metropolitan city in southern Taiwan for the estimation of related health risks. A group of representative homes, based on the housing characteristics questionnaires completed earlier, were selected from two parts of the city; urban and suburban. Burkard sampler (BURKARD, Rickmansworth, England) was used to collect airborne fungi onto agar plates with malt-extract. After incubation and identification, concentrations of airborne fungi were calculated as CFU/m3. The geometric mean (GM) concentration for indoors was 8946 (4372-18306) CFU/m3 in winter and 4381 (1605-11956) in summer. For outdoors, it was 11464 (5767-22788) CFU/m3 in winter and 4689 (1895-11603) in summer. In summer, the total fungal concentration, both indoors and outdoors of suburban homes, were significantly higher than those of urban homes. The dominant fungi contributing to such a difference were indoor Cladosporium spp. and outdoor Penicillium spp. (P<0.01). The indoor/outdoor ratio (I/O) was similar in two areas except for Penicillium spp. in winter and Aspergillus spp. in summer; both higher in the suburban area. Significantly higher levels of airborne fungi were observed in this region than those seen in northern Taiwan or other parts of the world. Future investigations are needed to further examine the effects of these exposures on the related health problems. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Waste Management and Disposal