Chemistry and Toxicology of Molds Isolated from Water-Damaged Buildings

  • Bruce B. Jarvis
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 504)


There is increasing evidence of health risks associated with damp buildings and homes in which high levels of microbes are found. Although concerns have traditionally centered on microbial pathogens and allergenic effects, recent work has suggested that fungi pose the more serious risk. Evidence is accumulating that certain toxigenic molds are particularly a risk for human health through exposure, via inhalation, of fungal spores. Many of these fungi produce toxins (mycotoxins) some of which have been shown to cause animal and human intoxications, usually in an agricultural setting. The fungusStachybotrys chartarum (S. atra)is considered to be one of the more serious threats to people living and working in water-damaged buildings. This mold has a long history of being responsible for animal toxicoses, and in recent years, being associated with infant pulmonary hemosiderosis (bleeding in the lungs) of infants exposed to spores of this fungus in their homes. S. atraproduces a variety of potent toxins and immunosuppressant agents, including a novel class of diterpenes (atranones) of unusual structure. More research is needed to determine the impact to health resulting from inhalation of toxigenic mold spores.


Indoor Environment Tenuazonic Acid Toxigenic Fungus Stachybotrys Chartarum Idiopathic Pulmonary Hemosiderosis 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce B. Jarvis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryUniversity of Maryland

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