Original Paper

International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 56, Issue 2, pp 211-219

First online:

The effects of transported Asian dust on the composition and concentration of ambient fungi in Taiwan

  • H. Jasmine ChaoAffiliated withSchool of Public Health, Taipei Medical University Email author 
  • , Chang-Chuan ChanAffiliated withInstitute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University
  • , Carol Y. RaoAffiliated withCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
  • , Chung-Te LeeAffiliated withGraduate Institute of Environmental Engineering, National Central University
  • , Ying-Chih ChuangAffiliated withSchool of Public Health, Taipei Medical University
  • , Yueh-Hsiu ChiuAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health
  • , Hsiao-Hsien HsuAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health
  • , Yi-Hua WuAffiliated withSchool of Public Health, Taipei Medical University

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This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of transported Asian dust and other environmental parameters on the levels and compositions of ambient fungi in the atmosphere of northern Taiwan. We monitored Asian dust events in Taipei County, Taiwan from January 2003 to June 2004. We used duplicate Burkard portable air samplers to collect ambient fungi before, during, and after dust events. Six transported Asian dust events were monitored during the study period. Elevated concentrations of Aspergillus (A. niger, specifically), Coelomycetes, Rhinocladiella, Sporothrix and Verticillium were noted (p < 0.05) during Asian dust periods. Botryosporium and Trichothecium were only recovered during dust event days. Multiple regression analysis showed that fungal levels were positively associated with temperature, wind speed, rainfall, non-methane hydrocarbons and particulates with aerodynamic diameters ≤10 μm (PM10), and negatively correlated with relative humidity and ozone. Our results demonstrated that Asian dust events affected ambient fungal concentrations and compositions in northern Taiwan. Ambient fungi also had complex dynamics with air pollutants and meteorological factors. Future studies should explore the health impacts of ambient fungi during Asian dust events, adjusting for the synergistic/antagonistic effects of weather and air pollutants.


Aerobiology Asian dust events Bioaerosols Culturable fungi