Myrothecium: A new indoor contaminant?
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In the natural environmentMyrothecium species occur as soil or leaf surface saprobes or as weak plant pathogens. In addition, some species ofMyrothecium are known to produce trichothecene mycotoxins. During a previous aerobiological investigation at two Las Vegas elementary schools,Myrothecium conidia were found to be the second most abundant spore type identified indoors from Burkard personal spore trap samples. The present study was undertaken to re-examine the schools to locate the source ofMyrothecium spores and to examine the ability ofMyrothecium to grow on indoor substrates. There were no obvious signs of contamination in the classrooms; however,Myrothecium spores occurred on about 30% of the Burkard samples. Two colonies ofMyrothecium were identified from subcultures of the Andersen samples, and three colonies were identified from carpet dust samples. Culture studies showed that a strain ofMyrothecium cinctum was able to grow on various culture media as well as on various indoor substrates including paper, cardboard, wallpaper, ceiling tiles, dry wall, carpets and cotton rug. Although there was no attempt to estimate any human health risks, these investigations are believed to be the first to document abundantMyrothecium spores from indoor air samples.
KeywordsMyrothecium Fungal spores Mycotoxins Indoor air
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