, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 295–304

Recovery of germinating fungal conidia from the nasal cavity after environmental exposure

  • Jason K. Sercombe
  • Brett J. Green
  • Euan R. Tovey
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10453-006-9043-x

Cite this article as:
Sercombe, J.K., Green, B.J. & Tovey, E.R. Aerobiologia (2006) 22: 295. doi:10.1007/s10453-006-9043-x



The expression of fungal allergens is increased by the germination of conidia. We assessed the state of germination of fungal conidia recovered by nasal lavage after environmental exposure.


Nasal lavage was performed on twenty adults at three stages: the start of the experiment, after 1 h indoors, and after 1 h outdoors. One half of the lavage liquid was immediately treated to prevent in-vitro germination and stained with periodic acid Schiff (PAS) to enable identification of germinated and ungerminated conidia. The untreated half of the lavage liquid was cultured on nutrient agar plates to enumerate and identify viable fungi.


PAS staining showed that both ungerminated and germinated conidia, and hyphal fragments, were present in the nasal cavity. The most prevalent fungi recovered were Aspergillus, Alternaria, Cladosporium, Epicoccum, Penicillium, and Yeast species. The number of viable fungi recovered after 1 h indoors was significantly less than after 1 h outdoors (P < 0.01).


Viable fungi and germinating conidia, in addition to ungerminated conidia and hyphal fragments, were present in the nasal cavity after both indoor and outdoor exposure. This provides novel insight into the pathogenicity of exposure to fungal aeroallergens.


Allergens Fungi Rhinitis Rhinosinusitis 



Periodic acid Schiff


20% Vegetable juice nutrient agar


Rose-Bengal chloramphenicol nutrient agar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jason K. Sercombe
    • 1
    • 2
  • Brett J. Green
    • 2
  • Euan R. Tovey
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Woolcock Institute of Medical ResearchThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.The University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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