Examination of fungi in domestic interiors by using factor analysis: Correlations and association with home factors

H. J. Su, A. Rotnitzky, H. A. Burge, J. D. Spengler

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57 Citations (Scopus)


Factor analysis was utilized to investigate correlations among airborne microorganisms collected with Andersen samplers from homes in Topeka, Kans., during the winter of 1987 to 1988. The factors derived were used to relate microbial concentrations with categorical, questionnaire-derived descriptions of housing conditions. This approach successfully identified groups of common aboveground decay fungi including Cladosporium, Alternaria, Epicoccum, and Aureobasidium spp. The common soil fungi Aspergillus and Penicillium spp. were also separated as a group. These previously known ecological groupings were confirmed with air sampling data by a quantitative evaluation technique. The aboveground decay fungi sampled indoors in winter were present at relatively high concentrations in homes with gas stoves for cooking, suggesting a possible association between these fungi and increased humidity from the combustion process. Elevated concentrations of the soil fungi were significantly (P = 0.05) associated with the dirt floor, crawl-space type of basement. Elevated concentrations of water-requiring fungi, such as Fusarium spp., were shown to be associated with water collection in domestic interiors. Also, elevated mean concentrations for the group of fungi including Cladosporium, Epicoccum, Aureobasidium, and yeast spp. were found to be associated (P = 0.03) with symptoms reported on a health questionnaire. This finding was consistent with our previous study of associations between respiratory health and airborne microorganisms by univariate logistic regression analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-186
Number of pages6
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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