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Indoor and outdoor atmospheric fungal spores in the São Paulo metropolitan area (Brazil): species and numeric concentrations

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to estimate the indoor and outdoor concentrations of fungal spores in the Metropolitan Area of Sao Paulo (MASP), collected at different sites in winter/spring and summer seasons. The techniques adopted included cultivation (samples collected with impactors) and microscopic enumeration (samples collected with impingers). The overall results showed total concentrations of fungal spores as high as 36,000 per cubic meter, with a large proportion of non culturable spores (around 91% of the total). Penicillium sp. and Aspergillus sp. were the dominant species both indoors and outdoors, in all seasons tested, occurring in more than 30% of homes at very high concentrations of culturable airborne fungi [colony forming units(CFU) m−3]. There was no significant difference between indoor and outdoor concentrations. The total fungal spore concentration found in winter was 19% higher than that in summer. Heat and humidity were the main factors affecting fungal growth; however, a non-linear response to these factors was found. Thus, temperatures below 16°C and above 25°C caused a reduction in the concentration (CFU m−3) of airborne fungi, which fits with MASP climatalogy. The same pattern was observed for humidity, although not as clearly as with temperature given the usual high relative humidity (above 70%) in the study area. These results are relevant for public health interventions that aim to reduce respiratory morbidity among susceptible populations.

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Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank firstly FAPESP (Financial Agency of the São Paulo State) for financial support of this research (Process number 03-0508). They also thank the Adolfo Lutz Institute, Brazil and the Institute for Chemical Technologies and Analytics, Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria. M.R.C. was partially supported by the CNPq (scholarship 303049/2007-3).

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Correspondence to Fábio Luiz Teixeira Gonçalves.

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Gonçalves, F.L.T., Bauer, H., Cardoso, M.R.A. et al. Indoor and outdoor atmospheric fungal spores in the São Paulo metropolitan area (Brazil): species and numeric concentrations. Int J Biometeorol 54, 347–355 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-009-0284-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-009-0284-6

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