The influence of meteorological parameters on Alternaria and Cladosporium fungal spore concentrations in Beja (Southern Portugal): preliminary results
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Introduction Fungal spores constitute an important fraction of bioaerosols in the atmosphere. Objectives To analyse the content of Alternaria and Cladosporium spores in the atmosphere of Beja and the effect of meteorological conditions on their concentrations. Methodology The daily and hourly data of Alternaria and Cladosporium fungal spores concentration in the atmosphere of Beja were monitored from April 12, 2012 to July 30, 2014, based on the Portuguese Aerobiology Network methodology. The influence of meteorological conditions on the studied types of fungal spore concentrations was assessed through Spearman’s correlation analysis. Results During the study period, 20,741 Alternaria spores and 320,862 Cladosporium spores were counted. In 2013, there were 5,822 Alternaria spores and 123,864 Cladosporium spores. The absolute maximum concentrations of Alternaria and Cladosporium spores were recorded on November 8, 2013, with 211 and 1301 spores/m3, respectively. Temperature, insolation and wind direction parameters showed a positive correlation with Alternaria and Cladosporium spore levels, while relative humidity and precipitation presented a negative correlation, which is statistically significant. Wind speed only showed a statistically significant positive correlation in terms of Alternaria spore levels. Conclusion Alternaria and Cladosporium spores are present in the atmospheric air of Beja throughout the year, with the highest concentration period occurring during spring and autumn. There was a clear effect of meteorological parameters on airborne concentrations of these fungal spores.
KeywordsFungal spores Alternaria Cladosporium Meteorological parameters Portugal
The authors would like to thank University of Évora and Unidade Local de Saúde do Baixo Alentejo for their collaboration in this project, Sociedade Portuguesa de Alergologia e Imunologia Clínica for the loan of the collector and, lastly, Beja Air Base No. 11, which kindly provided data regarding the meteorological parameters. A special thanks to teacher Rui Brandão, who designed the project from the beginning. This research was approved by the institution’s ethics committee, and the authors declare that they do not have any type of conflict of interest. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
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