, Volume 175, Issue 1–2, pp 43–56 | Cite as

Aspergillus fumigatus and Other Thermophilic Fungi in Nests of Wetland Birds

  • Teresa Korniłłowicz-Kowalska
  • Ignacy KitowskiEmail author


A study was performed on the numbers and species diversity of thermophilic fungi (growing at 45 °C in vitro) in 38 nests of 9 species of wetland birds, taking into account the physicochemical properties of the nests and the bird species. It was found that in nests with the maximum weight (nests of Mute Swan), the number and diversity of thermophilic fungi were significantly greater than in other nests, with lower weight. The diversity of the thermophilic biota was positively correlated with the individual mass of bird and with the level of phosphorus in the nests. The dominant species within the mycobiota under study was Aspergillus fumigatus which inhabited 95 % of the nests under study, with average frequency of ca. 650 cfu g−1 of dry mass of the nest material. In a majority of the nests studied (nests of 7 bird species), the share of A. fumigatus exceeded 50 % of the total fungi growing at 45 °C. Significantly higher frequencies of the fungal species were characteristic of the nests of small and medium-sized piscivorous species, compared with the other bird species. The number of A. fumigatus increased with increase in the moisture level of the nests, whereas the frequency of occurrence of that opportunistic pathogen, opposite to the general frequency of thermophilic mycobiota, was negatively correlated with the level of phosphorus in the nest material, and with the body mass and length of the birds. The authors indicate the causes of varied growth of thermophilic fungi in nests of wetland birds and, in particular, present a discussion of the causes of accumulation of A. fumigatus, the related threats to the birds, and its role as a source of transmission in the epidemiological chain of aspergillosis.


Thermophilic fungi A. fumigatus Nests Wetland birds 



This work was supported by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education: grant 2P04G03330.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teresa Korniłłowicz-Kowalska
    • 1
  • Ignacy Kitowski
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Mycological Laboratory, Department of Environmental MicrobiologyUniversity of Life Sciences in LublinLublinPoland
  2. 2.State School of Higher Education in ChelmChelmPoland

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