How is the prevalence of fungi in the air assessed and at what level do spores cause mold allergies?

Updated: Sep 18, 2017
  • Author: Shih-Wen Huang, MD; Chief Editor: Harumi Jyonouchi, MD  more...
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Answer

Studies of airborne fungi provide prevalence data that are important to estimate patients' exposures to molds. A common method of sampling molds is to use an Anderson air-sample volumetric collector (Anderson Instruments; Atlanta, Georgia). The collector machine is allowed to sample the designated space for 5 minutes, trapping air particles in the filter. The filter then is placed on a Petri dish with media containing Sabouraud glucose, potato dextrose, and malt extract agar. Colonies grow on the agar plate, which an experienced mycologist can often use to identify the species on the basis of its gross appearance. Spore counts may be expressed as the number of colonies from a cubic meter of air. If the counts are higher than 200 spores in a cubic meter of air, patients with allergy are most likely to have symptoms.


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