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Viable airborne pathogenic fungi represent a potential health hazard when exposing vulnerable persons in quantities exceeding their resilience. In this study, 284 indoor fungal isolates from a strain collection of indoor fungi were screened for pathogenic potential through the ability to grow in neutral pH at 37 °C and 30 °C. The isolates were collected from 20 locations including 14 problematic and 6 non-problematic ordinary buildings. Out of the screened isolates, 170 isolates were unable to grow at 37 °C, whereas 67 isolates growing at pH 7.2 at 37 °C were considered as potential opportunistic pathogens. Forty-seven isolates growing at 30 °C but not at 37 °C were considered as less likely pathogens. Out of these categories, 33 and 33 strains, respectively, were identified to the species level. The problematic buildings included known opportunistic pathogens: Aspergillus calidoustus, Trichoderma longibrachiatum, Rhizopus arrhizus and Paecilomyces variotii, as well as less likely pathogens: Aspergillus versicolor, Chaetomium cochliodes, Chaetomium globosum and Chaetomium rectangulare. Opportunistic pathogens such as Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus tubingensis and less likely pathogens such as Aspergillus westerdijkiae, Chaetomium globosum and Dichotomopilus finlandicus were isolated both from ordinary and from problematic buildings. Aspergillus was the dominant, most diverse genus found during screening for potentially pathogenic isolates in the indoor strain collection. Studies on Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus calidodoustus revealed that tolerance to cleaning chemicals may contribute to the adaptation of Aspergillus species to indoor environments.
- cleaning chemicals
- pathogenic indoor fungi
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