Do indoor plants contribute to the aeromycota in city buildings?
- 586 Downloads
Many studies have focused on the sources of fungal contamination in indoor spaces. Pathogenic fungi have been detected in the potting mix of indoor plants; however, it is unclear if plants in indoor work spaces make qualitative or quantitative contributions to the aeromycota within buildings. The current work represents a field study to determine, under realistic office conditions, whether indoor plants make a contribution to the airborne aeromycota. Fifty-five offices, within two buildings in Sydney’s central business district, were studied over two seasonal periods: autumn and spring. We found that indoor plant presence made no significant difference to either indoor mould spore counts or their species composition. No seasonal differences occurred between autumn and spring samples. Indoor spore loads were significantly lower than outdoor levels, demonstrating the efficiency of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in the buildings sampled. Neither the number of plants nor the species of plant used had an influence on spore loads; however, variations of those two variables offer potential for further studies. We conclude that conservative numbers of indoor plants make no substantial contribution to building occupants exposure to fungi.
KeywordsIndoor air quality Aeromycota Indoor plants Airborne fungi Office buildings
This project was funded by Horticulture Australia Ltd with a nursery industry levy and voluntary contributions from the National Interior Plantscape Association (Australia) and matched funds from the Australian Government.
- Alexopoulos, C. J., Mims, C. W., & Blackwell, M. (1996). Introductory mycology. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) (1989). Fungi. Committee on Bioaerosols. Cincinnati, OH: American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.Google Scholar
- American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) (1999). TLVs and BEIs. Threshold limit values for chemical substances and physical agents, biological exposure indices. Cincinnati, OH: American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.Google Scholar
- ASHRAE (1992). Thermal environmental conditions for human occupancy. (Vol. 5). Atlanta: American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers Inc.Google Scholar
- Costa, P. R., & James, R. W. (1999). Air conditioning and noise control using vegetation. In: Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate, pp. 234–239.Google Scholar
- Ellis, D., Davis, S., Alexiou, H., Handke, R., & Bartley, R. (2007). Descriptions of medical fungi (2nd ed.). Adelaide: Published by the Authors.Google Scholar
- Hargreaves, M., Parappukkaran, S., Morawska, L., Hitchins, J., He, C., & Gilbert, D. (2003). A pilot investigation into associations between indoor airborne fungal and non-biological particle concentrations in residential houses in Brisbane. Australia. Science of the Total Environment, 312(1–3), 89–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Jantunen, M. J., Nevalainen, A., Rytkonen, A. L., Pellikka, M., & Kalliokoski, P. (1987). The effect of humidification on indoor fungal spore counts in apartment buildings. In Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate, Berlin. pp. 643–647.Google Scholar
- Klich, M. A., & Pitt, J. I. (1988). A laboratory guide to common aspergillus species and their teleomorphs: Sydney. Australia: CSIRO.Google Scholar
- Mycology Online (2008–2012). Identification of Medically Important Fungi. http://www.mycology.adelaide.edu.au/ Accessed 28 April 2008–2013 June 2010.
- Reponen, T., Lehtonen, M., Raunemaa, T., & Nevalainen, A. (1992). Effect of indoor sources on fungal spore concentrations and size distributions. Journal of Aerosol Science, 23, Supplement 1(0), 663–666.Google Scholar
- Zhen, S., Li, K., Yin, L., Yao, M., Zhang, H., Chen, L., et al. (2009). A comparison of the efficiencies of a portable BioStage impactor and a Reuter centrifugal sampler (RCS) High Flow for measuring airborne bacteria and fungi concentrations. Journal of Aerosol Science, 40(6), 503–513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar