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First fungal spore calendar for the atmosphere of Bratislava, Slovakia

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Fungal spores were identified and quantified in the air of Bratislava during the 1-year period (2016) using a Burkard 7-day volumetric aerospore trap. Based on data obtained, the first spore calendar in Slovakia has been constructed for the urban area of Bratislava. The total annual spore concentration recorded during this period was 836,418 spores/m³, belonging to 53 fungal spore types. The fungal taxa contributing the highest concentration of spores were Cladosporium (71.88% of the total), Coprinus (8.84%), Leptosphaeria (3.88%), Ganoderma (3.43%) and Alternaria (2.79%). Remaining 48 spore types were less well represented (altogether 9.18% of the total). Daily monitoring data revealed a large variation in airborne spore concentrations. Fungal spores peaked during summer and autumn months (June–October) and declined from November to March. The maximum monthly total spore concentration (153,342 spores/m³) was recorded in July, while the minimum (1381 spores/m³) in January. The relationships between mean daily airborne spore concentrations of selected fungal taxa and meteorological variables were evaluated through multiple regression analysis. The percentage of variation explained by regression analyses was 49.7% for Alternaria, 46.9% for Ganoderma, 45.8% for Cladosporium, 43.9% for Leptosphaeria and 32.1% for Coprinus. Spore concentrations of most analysed airborne fungal taxa were positively associated with air temperature and/or negatively associated with relative air humidity either throughout the year or only in summer. Cladosporium spore concentration was positively related with the wind speed, whereas the association between Ganoderma spore concentration and wind speed was negative. Spores of Leptosphaeria showed significant positive association with relative air humidity and significant negative association with sunshine duration in summer. Knowledge of seasonal patterns of the type and number of spores in the air will provide clinicians and sufferers of allergic asthma and rhinitis as well as agronomists with valuable information on the prophylaxis of respiratory allergic and plant diseases, respectively.
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ORIGINAL PAPER
First fungal spore calendar for the atmosphere of Bratislava,
Slovakia
Jana S
ˇc
ˇevkova
´.Jozef Kova
´c
ˇ
Received: 23 May 2018 / Accepted: 10 January 2019 / Published online: 17 January 2019
ÓSpringer Nature B.V. 2019
Abstract Fungal spores were identified and quanti-
fied in the air of Bratislava during the 1-year period
(2016) using a Burkard 7-day volumetric aerospore
trap. Based on data obtained, the first spore calendar in
Slovakia has been constructed for the urban area of
Bratislava. The total annual spore concentration
recorded during this period was 836,418 spores/m
3
,
belonging to 53 fungal spore types. The fungal taxa
contributing the highest concentration of spores were
Cladosporium (71.88% of the total), Coprinus
(8.84%), Leptosphaeria (3.88%), Ganoderma
(3.43%) and Alternaria (2.79%). Remaining 48 spore
types were less well represented (altogether 9.18% of
the total). Daily monitoring data revealed a large
variation in airborne spore concentrations. Fungal
spores peaked during summer and autumn months
(June–October) and declined from November to
March. The maximum monthly total spore concentra-
tion (153,342 spores/m
3
) was recorded in July, while
the minimum (1381 spores/m
3
) in January. The
relationships between mean daily airborne spore
concentrations of selected fungal taxa and meteoro-
logical variables were evaluated through multiple
regression analysis. The percentage of variation
explained by regression analyses was 49.7% for
Alternaria, 46.9% for Ganoderma, 45.8% for Cla-
dosporium, 43.9% for Leptosphaeria and 32.1% for
Coprinus. Spore concentrations of most analysed
airborne fungal taxa were positively associated with
air temperature and/or negatively associated with
relative air humidity either throughout the year or
only in summer. Cladosporium spore concentration
was positively related with the wind speed, whereas
the association between Ganoderma spore concentra-
tion and wind speed was negative. Spores of Lep-
tosphaeria showed significant positive association
with relative air humidity and significant negative
association with sunshine duration in summer. Knowl-
edge of seasonal patterns of the type and number of
spores in the air will provide clinicians and sufferers of
allergic asthma and rhinitis as well as agronomists
with valuable information on the prophylaxis of
respiratory allergic and plant diseases, respectively.
Keywords Airborne spores Spore calendar Air
monitoring Meteorological parameters
J. S
ˇc
ˇevkova
´(&)
Department of Botany, Faculty of Natural Sciences,
Comenius University, Re
´vova
´39, 811 02 Bratislava,
Slovakia
e-mail: jana.scevkova@uniba.sk
J. Kova
´c
ˇ
Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics,
Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics,
Comenius University, Mlynska
´dolina, 842 48 Bratislava,
Slovakia
123
Aerobiologia (2019) 35:343–356
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10453-019-09564-4(0123456789().,-volV)(0123456789().,-volV)
1 Introduction
Fungal spores are reproductive or distributional
structures produced during the life cycle of fungal
organisms. They are a major contributor to the
spectrum of airborne allergens (Oliveira et al. 2009),
as many fungal air spores are allergenic and their
inhalation can produce respiratory allergic diseases,
such as bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis (Caretta
1992;D&Amato and Spieksma 1995). An estimated
3–10% of the world’s population is allergic to spores
of fungal organisms (Bush and Portnoy 2001). On the
other hand, some of airborne spore types are important
in plant pathology as they can cause epidemics in
agriculture (Sakiyan and Inceog
˘lu 2003). Thus,
knowledge of the spectrum and quantity of airborne
fungal spores, as well as their seasonal and daily
fluctuation affecting by weather conditions, permits to
develop prediction models of the spore concentrations
in the atmosphere (Grinn-Gofron
´and Strzelczak
2008,2009) which is of great importance from a
clinical and agronomical point of view. However, only
few countries have constructed spore calendars in
order to evaluate the fungal spore conditions in the
atmosphere (Mitakakis and Guest 2001; Gioulekas
et al. 2004; Kasprzyk et al. 2004;Sa
´nchez Reyes et al.
2016; Bednarz and Pawłowska 2016). The first
investigation into airborne fungal spores in Slovakia
was conducted in Bratislava where seven fungal spore
types were identified (Chrenova
´et al. 2004). More-
over, S
ˇc
ˇevkova
´et al. (2016) analysed the effect of
recent changes in air temperature on trends in airborne
Alternaria,Epicoccum and Stemphylium spore sea-
sons in Bratislava. To date, this is the first such
detailed analysis of airborne fungal spore spectrum in
Slovakia.
The main objective of the present study was to
identify and quantify fungal spores in the atmosphere
of Bratislava during the 1-year period (2016) and
create the first spore calendar for this urban area. The
data obtained could be applied in the prevention,
diagnostic and treatment of seasonal allergic respira-
tory diseases, and they can allow efficient protection
of plants against pathogens by applying fungicides.
2 Materials and methods
Bratislava (48°100N, 17°100E) is the capital of Slo-
vakia and is located in the south-western part of
Slovakia (Fig. 1) on the boundary between the Male
´
Karpaty Mountains and the Pannonian Lowland. The
city is surrounded by farmland areas and forests which
provide suitable media for spore production. The
measuring site was 1 km east–west from Botanical
garden of Comenius University, and it is one of the
largest green complexes in Bratislava. This area is
characteristic for location of many different species of
trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants, which may be one
potential source of spores recorded in the air.
The climate of Bratislava is temperate continental
with warm summers and cold winters. The mean
annual temperature corresponds to 10.6 °C with a
mean temperature of 21.0 °C in July (the hottest
month) and 0.1 °C in January (the coldest month)
(Hrvol2014). The annual rainfall varies from 530 to
650 mm, as average, falling mostly during May–July
(Hrnc
ˇiarova
´et al. 2006). Winds from the north-west
are predominant all the year round.
Spectrum and quantity of fungal spores were
measured from January to December 2016 by Hirst-
type volumetric aerospore trap (Burkard model). The
sampler was placed on the roof of the Department of
Botany, Comenius University in Bratislava, in north-
west part of the city at the height of 10 m above
ground level. The monitoring station at this institute
has been in operation since 2002 and is a part of the
Slovak Aerospore Information Service (AIS) which
operates aerospore monitoring network of samplers in
Slovakia (Dus
ˇic
ˇka et al. 2012). Air is suctioned into
the sampler throughout a horizontally orientated
2914 mm slit at a rate of 10 l/min and impacted
against an adhesive tape that moves continuously past
the slit at a rate of 2 mm/h. A detailed account is given
in the British Aerobiology Federation’s trapping guide
(British Aerobiology Federation 1995). At sampling
site, tape was changed weekly at 10:00 (local time).
The tapes were cut into strips 48 mm long, each
representing 24 h exposure, and were mounted on
microscope slides in gelatin–glycerine and stained
with basic fuchsin. Spores were counted in 12
transversal traverses per slide under a light microscope
at a magnification of 400 9. After the spore counting
in each sampling area, a specific correction factor for
the used microscope was applied. Thus, the final spore
123
344 Aerobiologia (2019) 35:343–356
counts were expressed as mean daily spore concen-
trations per cubic meter of air (spores/m
3
). The fungal
spores were identified according different atlases and
morphology keys (e.g. Nilsson et al. 1983; Grant
Smith 2000; Lacey and West 2006; Arora and Jain
2008). This standard air sampling and microscopic
identification methodology is subject to quality con-
trols (QC) for its data contributors (Costos-Ya
´n
˜ez et al.
2013). The Slovak Aerospore Information Service has
been participated in an external QC exercises for
microscopic identification of pollen grains and fungal
spores carried out within the framework of the
European Aerobiology Society’s QC Working Group
(Sikoparija et al. 2017).
The cut-point of the 7-day Burkard sampler is
5.2 lm (Willeke and Macher 1999); thus, the collec-
tion efficiency is higher for spores with an aerody-
namic equivalent diameter greater than 5.2 lm.
The airborne spore taxa are listed in Table 1in
descending order based on their annual total spore
concentrations. The spore calendar was constructed
following the technique adopted by Spieksma (1991):
mean daily spore concentrations of 10-day periods (in
the case of months having 29 or 31 days, we used 9- or
11-day periods, respectively) were transformed into
eight classes (S
ˇc
ˇevkova
´et al. 2010) (Fig. 2). Only
those spore types whose annual percentage reached
the value equal to or greater than 0.01% were included
in the spore calendar. The individual fungal spore
types are listed in spore calendar in chronological
order based on the start day of their spore season, from
earliest to latest.
To analyse the effect of meteorological parameters
on the daily spore concentrations, following meteoro-
logical variables were taken into consideration: mean
daily surface air temperature (8C), mean daily relative
air humidity (%), total daily rainfall (mm), mean daily
wind speed (m/s), mean daily number of sunshine
hours (hours) and mean daily frequency of winds (%)
blowing from four quadrants (north-east, south-east,
south-west and north-west). Frequency (F) was cal-
culated as follows: F= (number of winds blowing
from a given quadrant/number of total winds regis-
tered)*100. Meteorological data were recorded at
meteorological observatory of the Department of
Astronomy, Physics of the Earth and Meteorology of
the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics
of Comenius University in Bratislava (48°090N,
17°040E, 182 m a. s. l.) situated 1 km north-west of
the sampling site.
A regression analysis was performed in order to
determine how much of total variance in airborne
spore concentrations of five predominant fungal taxa
(Alternaria,Cladosporium,Coprinus,Ganoderma
and Leptosphaeria) can be attributed to selected
meteorological variables. For each of the fungal taxa,
a univariate multiple regression model was used to
estimate the effects of the weather variables on the
spore concentrations. The possible autocorrelation of
the measurements was adjusted for by considering
autoregressive correlation structure for the observa-
tions in the model. Because the daily proportions of
the wind directions were dependent, the variable
expressing the proportion of the north-west wind was
not included in the model. (Its effect is hidden in the
intercept.) To cover potential seasonal effects, dummy
variables for the seasons (spring, summer and winter;
the effect of autumn is included in the intercept term)
and the interactions of the meteorological variables
with the seasons were also added as predictors. The
Fig. 1 Location of the
aerospore sampling site
123
Aerobiologia (2019) 35:343–356 345
Table 1 Annual total, percentage contribution and frequency of all fungal spore types found in the air of Bratislava
Spore type Annual total spore count (spores/m
3
) Percentage of total Frequency (% of days)
Cladosporium 601,209 71.88 99.7
Coprinus 73,925 8.84 97.8
Leptosphaeria 32,428 3.88 71.9
Ganoderma 28,677 3.43 67.7
Alternaria 23,370 2.79 93.3
Myxomycetes 21,798 2.61 95.2
Agrocybe 9651 1.15 85.9
Epicoccum 8096 0.97 94.2
Periconia 4687 0.56 74.8
Exosporium 4603 0.55 73.8
Fusarium 4422 0.53 73.2
Didymella 2133 0.26 43.8
Diatrypaceae 2039 0.24 23.6
Pleospora 2228 0.27 69.6
Torula 1641 0.20 76.7
Botrytis 1556 0.19 46.0
Oidium 1500 0.18 72.5
Cercospora 1335 0.16 43.1
Urediniospores 1313 0.16 48.2
Ascospores 1271 0.15 48.2
Stemphylium 1242 0.15 73.8
Gliomastix 1054 0.13 42.8
Peronospora 1028 0.12 67.4
Pithomyces 918 0.11 47.9
Tilletia 827 0.10 38.0
Aspergillus/Penicillium 822 0.10 15.3
Polythrincium 753 0.09 41.9
Fusicladium 411 0.05 64.5
Panaeolus 238 0.03 24.0
Caloplaca 202 0.02 12.5
Drechslera 188 0.02 37.1
Nigrospora 177 0.02 33.9
Cerebella 151 0.02 19.2
Bovista 90 0.01 10.9
Urocystis agropyri 80 0.01 14.7
Arthrinium 70 0.01 8.3
Melanospora 45 0.01 10.9
Passeriniella 38 \0.01 7.3
Ascobolus 35 \0.01 11.2
Pestalotiopsis 35 \0.01 5.4
Spilocaea 34 \0.01 8.6
Amphisphaeria 17 \0.01 3.2
Curvularia 12 \0.01 3.5
Spegazzinia 12 \0.01 3.5
123
346 Aerobiologia (2019) 35:343–356
regression analysis with correlated observations was
performed in the statistical software R (version 3.4.1),
by choosing the autoregressive correlation structure in
the function gls from the nlme package. The selection
of the autoregressive order was automatic, based on
the residuals of the regression model that did not allow
for correlation in the observations. By sequentially
testing the significances of the submodels using
likelihood ratio tests, insignificant variables
(p[0.05) were removed from the model.
3 Results
A total of 836,418 fungal spores belonging to 53 spore
types were identified in the air of Bratislava during
2016 (Table 1). Figure 3represents five major taxa
obtained during the study period as they represent
90.82% of total annual spore concentrations recorded
in the air of Bratislava. The greatest total spore
concentration was attributed to Cladosporium
(71.88% of the total) followed by Coprinus (8.84%),
Leptosphaeria (3.88%), Ganoderma (3.43%) and
Alternaria (2.79%). Remaining 48 spore types were
less well represented (altogether 9.18% of the total)
(Table 1; Fig. 3). Cladosporium was both the most
abundant spore type and the spore type that reached
the highest daily value (13,812 spores/m
3
in July 18).
On the other hand, of these five major spore types,
Ganoderma registered the lowest daily value
(644 spores/m
3
in September 4).
Fungal spores occur in the air of Bratislava
throughout the whole year (Fig. 2). Airborne spores
of Cladosporium,Coprinus,Myxomycetes,Epicoc-
cum and Alternaria were trapped most frequently
([90% of days), while Oncopodiela,Sporidesmium,
Puccinia,Helicoma and Tetraploa were rare in sample
(\2%) (Table 1).
On the basis of the constructed spore calendar,
Cladosporium registered the highest spore concentra-
tion ([1000 spores/m
3
; exponential class h) in the
second 10-day mean period of May, in the last of
November and from the first of June to the first of
November, while Coprinus reached 501–1000 spores/
m
3
(class g) in the first and last 10-day mean periods of
June, last of July and October. Leptosphaeria (from
the first 10-day mean period of June to the first of
September), Ganoderma (from the last 10-day mean
period of June to the last of September), Agrocybe
(first 10-day mean period of September and last of
November), Alternaria (from the last 10-day mean
period of June to second of September), Epicoccum
(second 10-day mean period of September and last of
October) and Myxomycetes (last two 10-day mean
periods of June, September and October, and first and
last of November) counted 101–500 spores/m
3
(class
f). Fusarium and Exosporium registered
51–100 spores/m
3
(class e) in first 10-day mean period
of June, and in last of June and in first two of July,
respectively. The rest of spore types included in the
spore calendar did not register 10-day mean greater
than 50 spores/m
3
(Fig. 2).
Table 1 continued
Spore type Annual total spore count (spores/m
3
) Percentage of total Frequency (% of days)
Massaria 11 \0.01 1.6
Asterosporium 9\0.01 2.9
Neohendersonia 9\0.01 2.9
Oncopodiela 9\0.01 1.9
Sporormiella 9\0.01 2.9
Sporidesmium 6\0.01 1.9
Puccinia 2\0.01 0.6
Helicoma 1\0.01 0.3
Tetraploa 1\0.01 0.3
Total 836,418 100.00
123
Aerobiologia (2019) 35:343–356 347
Oidium
JUN JUL AUG SEP
Taxa JAN FEB MAR APR MAY DEC
Cladosporium
Pleospora
Ascospores
Coprinus
OCT NOV
Caloplaca
Peronospora
Myxomycetes
Epicoccum
Alternaria
Fusicladium
Stemphylium
Cercospora
Torula
Drechslera
Fusarium
Diatrypaceae
Urocystis
Melanospora
Cerebella
Agrocybe
Asp/Pen*
Exosporium
Periconia
Panaeolus
Urediniospores
Arthrinium
Ganoderma
Leptosphaeria
Didymella
Polythrincium
Bovista
JAN FEB
de
MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG
fgh
Gliomastix
Nigrospora
Pithomyces
Botrytis
Tilletia
SEP OCT NOV DEC
* Asp/Pen (Aspergillus/Penicillium )
abc
123
348 Aerobiologia (2019) 35:343–356
The highest spore concentrations were recorded in
summer (198,703 spores/m
3
, 23.81% of the total were
collected in July and 153,342 spores/m
3
, 18.38% in
June) and in autumn, mainly in September
(131,479 spores/m
3
, 15.76% of the total). On the
other side, we could find the months of December
(3128 spores/m
3
, 0.37%), January (1381 spores/m
3
,
0.17% of the total) and February (4318 spores/m
3
,
0.52%) corresponding to winter season (Fig. 4).
During the study period, different peaks of total
monthly spore concentration were obtained for the
major spore types (Fig. 4). Leptosphaeria showed one
peak in July, while Ganoderma peaked in September
and October. Alternaria and Cladosporium peaked in
July and September, while Coprinus peaked in June
and October.
The prevailing weather conditions recorded during
the study period revealed an average air temperature of
11.1 °C, where the minimum and maximum temper-
ature ranged between -2.7 and 27.8 °C, respectively.
The absolute air humidity and rainfall recorded
average values of 8.12 g/m
3
and 4.3 mm, respectively
(Fig. 5).
Table 2shows the results of multiple regression
analysis, which was performed in order to identified
the weather variables which the most influenced
airborne fungal spore concentrations. For the sake of
brevity, only significant meteorological variables from
the final models are shown in Table 2. (For example,
the insignificant interaction term ‘‘Rainfall: Spring’’ is
not in the table, although it was included in the final
model for Alternaria.) For Alternaria and Cladospo-
rium, the regression models explained 49.7% and
45.8% of the total variance, respectively. Multiple
regression analysis consisting of mean daily air
temperature, mean daily relative air humidity and
total daily rainfall explained the variability in Al-
ternaria spore concentrations in summer, while for
Cladosporium, the major explanatory variables were
mean daily air temperature and mean daily wind
speed. The most important agents influencing spore
concentration of Ganoderma are mean daily air
temperature and mean daily wind speed (throughout
the year) and mean daily relative air humidity (in
summer). For mentioned spore type, the regression
model explained 46.9% of the total variance. Through-
out the year, Leptosphaeria spore concentration was
found to be significantly influenced by winds blowing
from south-east, whereas the number of sunshine
hours and mean daily relative air humidity were the
most influential variables in summer. Mean daily air
temperature showed to have some influence on the
Coprinus spore concentration. For Leptosphaeria and
Coprinus, the regression models explained 43.9% and
32.1% of the total variance, respectively.
4 Discussion
This aeromycological study has been based on tradi-
tional visual (microscopic) identification of fungal
spores which enables comparisons with other histor-
ical and current fungal spore calendars in locations
near Slovakia and in other locations around the world.
However, in the near future, greater emphasis will
place on modern molecular methods (e.g. DNA or
RNA probe technology, PCR—polymerase chain
reaction) of identifying and counting of airborne
fungal spores (Green 2018) in order to avoid the
tedious nature of microscopic spore identification and
quantification and enabling the detection of a wide
range of so far unidentified spores.
bFig. 2 Spore calendar for Bratislava Exponential classes
(spores/m
3
): a1–5, b6–10, c11–25, d26–50, e51–100,
f101–500, g501–1000, h[1000
Cladosporium
71.88 %
Coprinus
8.84 %
Leptosphaeria
3.88 %
Ganoderma
3.43 %
Alternaria
2.79 %
Other spore
types
9.18 %
Fig. 3 Relative contributions (% of total spore concentration)
of the major spore types in the air of Bratislava
123
Aerobiologia (2019) 35:343–356 349
The annual total spore concentration in the atmo-
sphere of Bratislava in 2016 (836,418 spores/m
3
) was
high compared to other regions. The annual spore
totals reached the values from 917 spores/m
3
in
Sonora (Mexico) (Moreno-Sarmiento et al. 2016)to
595,199 spores/m
3
in Szczecin (Poland) (Bednarz and
Pawłowska 2016). The fungal spore concentrations
vary depending on the climatic and weather conditions
of each locality as well as the local spore sources
(Lacey 1981). The city in temperate regions of Europe
that is comparable to this in our study is Szczecin. The
climate in this city is characterized by cold summers,
which differs from that of our study area. The weather
conditions in Bratislava during the study period
(which had an annual average air temperature of
11.1 °C and total annual rainfall reached 776.4 mm)
in conjunction with the forests (Male
´Karpaty Moun-
tains) and farmland areas (Podunajska
´
´z
ˇina Low-
land) surrounding the city may favour the sporulation
of fungal organisms, making the total annual spore
concentration higher than that in other studies.
0
2000
4000
6000
8000
10000
JFMAMJ JASOND
spores/m3
Alternaria
0
50000
100000
150000
200000
JFMAMJ JASOND
spores/m3
Cladosporium
0
5000
10000
15000
20000
JFMAMJ JASOND
spores/m3
Coprinus
0
4000
8000
12000
JFMAMJ JASOND
spores/m3
Ganoderma
0
3000
6000
9000
12000
15000
JFMAMJ JASOND
spores/m3
Leptosphaeria
0
50000
100000
150000
200000
250000
JFMAMJ JASOND
spores/m3
Total fungal spores
Fig. 4 Monthly variations in the spore concentrations of the major fungal taxa and total fungal spores in the air of Bratislava
123
350 Aerobiologia (2019) 35:343–356
The previous study only reported the presence of
seven spore types (Alternaria,Cladosporium,Epic-
occum,Fusarium,Helminthosporium,Puccinia and
Stemphylium) in the air of Bratislava (Chrenova
´et al.
2004). In the current study, 53 airborne spore types
were identified in Bratislava throughout the year
(Table 1), while in other European regions the spec-
trum of airborne fungal spore types varied between 10
and 35 spore types (Kasprzyk et al. 2004; Ianovici and
Tudorica 2009; Bednarz and Pawłowska 2016). Cla-
dosporium was both the most abundant (71% of the
total spore concentration) and the most frequently
occurring (99.7% of days) airborne spore type in the
study area. Cladosporium spores were also reported as
a predominant spore type in Szczecin (Poland) (Bed-
narz and Pawłowska 2016), Rzeszo
´w (Poland)
(Kasprzyk et al. 2004), Madrid (Spain) (Dı
´ez Herrero
et al. 2006), Valladolid (Spain) (Sa
´nchez Reyes et al.
2016), Funchal (Portugal) (Sousa et al. 2016),
Timis¸oara (Romania) (Ianovici 2016), Melbourne
(Australia) (Mitakakis and Guest 2001), Havana
(Cuba) (Almaguer et al. 2015), Santiago (Chile)
(Iba
´n
˜ez Henrı
´quez et al. 2001) and in Montevideo
(Uruguay) (Martı
´nez Blanco et al. 2016). The long
presence of Cladosporium spores in the air showed a
similar pattern with other regions with different
weather conditions (Mitakakis and Guest 2001;
Kasprzyk et al. 2004;Dı
´ez Herrero et al. 2006;
Ianovici and Tudorica 2009; Hasnain et al. 2012;
Almaguer et al. 2015; Martı
´nez Blanco et al. 2016;
Sousa et al. 2016; Bednarz and Pawłowska 2016;
Sa
´nchez Reyes et al. 2016). The abundance of spores
-5
5
15
25
35
JFMAMJ J A S ON D
ºC Temperature mean
Temperature maximum
Temperature minimum
0
2
4
6
8
10
0
3
6
9
12
15
18
JFMAMJJASOND
g/m3 mm
Rainfall
Absolute humidity
Fig. 5 Prevailing weather
conditions (mean, maximum
and minimum air
temperature, absolute air
humidity and rainfall)
recorded during the study
period
123
Aerobiologia (2019) 35:343–356 351
of Cladosporium throughout the year may be attrib-
uted to their small size, low weight and low density,
which facilitate aerodispersal of these spores (Shaheen
1992). Coprinus (8.84% of the total spore concentra-
tion) and Leptosphaeria (3.88%) are the second and
the third most important airborne spore types in
Bratislava, respectively (Table 1). In the case of
Coprinus, the percentage is similar to that of Madrid
(Dı
´ez Herrero et al. 2006), but lower than that of
Melbourne in which this spore type represented 14.6%
of the total spore concentration (Mitakakis and Guest
2001). On the other hand, spores of Coprinus reached
less than 0.1% of the total spore concentration in
Szczecin (Bednarz and Pawłowska 2016). Lep-
tosphaeria, with the value of 1.21% of the total spore
concentration is considered as the fourth most impor-
tant fungal spore type in Szczecin. Leptosphaeria was
considered as one of the most numerous airborne
fungal spores also in Melbourne (Mitakakis and Guest
2001), Havana (Almaguer et al. 2015) and Montevideo
(Martı
´nez Blanco et al. 2016). Some other studies
confirm the atmospheric relevance of Ganoderma and/
or Alternaria spore types (Mitakakis and Guest 2001;
Iba
´n
˜ez Henrı
´quez et al. 2001; Kasprzyk et al. 2004;
Kasprzyk and Worek 2006; Celenk et al. 2007;
Ianovici and Tudorica 2009; Hasnain et al. 2012;
Moreno-Sarmiento et al. 2016; Martı
´nez Blanco et al.
2016; Sousa et al. 2016; Bednarz and Pawłowska
2016; Ianovici 2016;Sa
´nchez Reyes et al. 2016), the
fourth and fifth most important spore types in the air of
Bratislava, respectively. High concentrations of Co-
prinus and Ganoderma airborne spores in the urban
area of Bratislava could be due to the abundance of
adequate substrates in the spore trap surroundings
(crop fields and woody areas), as the presence of
spores of these plant pathogens is more related to rural
than urban areas (Kasprzyk and Worek 2006). Despite
the fact that Aspergillus/Penicillium are considered to
be important fungal spores from both clinical and
phytopathological point of view (Myszkowska et al.
2004), only low annual total spore concentration
(827 spores/m
3
; 0.1% of the total) of these taxa was
observed in the air of Bratislava. This value is similar
to those observed in Szczecin (Poland) with the annual
total concentration of 812 spores/m
3
(Bednarz and
Pawłowska 2016); however, this is very low when
compared to the values (5512 and 12,746 spores/m
3
/
year) registered in Madrid (Spain) (Dı
´ez Herrero et al.
2006) and Havana (Cuba) (Almaguer-Cha
´vez et al.
2018), respectively. On the other hand, Mitakakis and
Guest (2001) and Martı
´nez Blanco et al. (2016) have
not registered any spores of Aspergillus/Penicillium
Table 2 Significant meteorological variables in multiple regression models for selected fungal spore types in Bratislava
Spore type Variables bCoeff. SE pvalue R
2
Proportion of variance
explained (%)
Alternaria Intercept 39.1448 24.7715 0.1151 0.497 49.7
Temperature: summer 13.7446 5.1356 0.0079
Relative humidity: summer -5.6284 1.4997 0.0002
Rainfall: summer -9.2162 2.0479 \0.0001
Cladosporium Intercept 1642.1977 338.7345 \0.0001 0.458 45.8
Temperature 171.3087 28.9905 \0.0001
Wind speed 186.5544 79.8047 0.0200
Coprinus Intercept 137.0323 35.2038 0.0001 0.321 32.1
Temperature 16.8521 2.8110 \0.0001
Ganoderma Intercept 68.9952 55.6982 0.2164 0.469 46.9
Temperature 2.3868 1.1561 0.0398
Wind speed -11.5918 3.9518 0.0036
Relative humidity: summer -3.7783 0.9300 0.0001
Leptosphaeria Intercept 131.7430 56.6106 0.0206 0.439 43.9
Wind direction SE -1.0933 0.3763 0.0039
Sunshine: summer -24.5091 7.6944 0.0016
Relative humidity: summer 10.0514 3.2586 0.0022
123
352 Aerobiologia (2019) 35:343–356
taxa in the air of Melbourne (Australia) and Monte-
video (Uruguay), respectively.
Although Alternaria and Coprinus spore types
reached much lower values than those of Cladospo-
rium, a similar two peaks seasonal pattern of these
spore types was observed, with peak values occurred
in July, September and June, October, respectively
(Fig. 4). Similarly to our results, Celenk et al. (2007)
reported two peaks seasonal pattern (observed in July
and September) for Cladosporium; however, the peak
occurred in July was much larger of the two.
Airborne spores occurred in Bratislava throughout
the whole year. However, peak concentrations were
recorded in summer and early autumn, while mini-
mum spore concentrations were observed in winter
and spring (Fig. 4). Similar seasonal pattern has been
found by Kasprzyk (2008). In Bratislava, summer
season is characterized by intensive plant growth,
while in autumn, the decay of plant material is in
progress. The large quantity of plant material, whether
fresh or decay, could be considered as the potential
growth material for fungal organisms. Based on these
results, peak spore concentrations during summer and
early autumn months might be due to favourable
climatic and weather conditions that allow the growth
and/or decomposition of plant material. Additionally,
many of the fungal organisms whose spores are
present in the air of studied area are plant pathogens.
Consequently, the large number of airborne spores
detected in summer and early autumn may be
attributed to harvesting of crops (Dixit et al. 2000)
since the crop fields are located in the vicinity of the
spore trap.
The quantity of fungal spores in the atmosphere
markedly relates to meteorological factors. In present
study, the highest spore concentrations were occurred
in June, July and September (Fig. 4), when air
temperature and rainfall provide the optimum condi-
tions for the growth and sporulation of fungal organ-
isms (Fig. 5). In August, the decrease in the amount of
spores in the air of Bratislava (Fig. 4) may be related
to a drop in both air temperature and amount of rainfall
(Fig. 5).
Based on the results of the multiple regression
analysis, air temperature and relative air humidity
explained the variability in Alternaria and Ganoderma
spore concentrations throughout the year or only in
summer. The relationships between air temperature
and spore concentrations of mentioned fungal taxa
were positive, while the relationships between relative
air humidity and spore concentrations were negative.
Similar results have been reported by Corden and
Millington (2001), Aira et al. (2008) and Ianovici
(2016). According to the other researchers (Nolard
et al. 2001), this phenomenon is probably linked to the
fact that, in order to be released into the air, airborne
fungal spores require a certain degree of dryness,
which occurs when the air temperature increases.
Rainfall was also significant factor explaining the
variability in Alternaria airborne spore concentrations
in summer, exhibited significant and negative rela-
tionship with mentioned spore type. Similarly to this
study, negative association between Alternaria and
rainfall was also observed by several other researchers
(Corden and Millington 2001; Martı
´nez Blanco et al.
2016; Ianovici 2016). This result should be explained
by the fact that rainfall removes airborne spores by
both rainout and washout effects (Magyar et al. 2009;
Artac¸ et al. 2014). Moreover, because Alternaria spore
concentration was negatively related also with relative
air humidity in this present study, it could be argued
that precipitation could have caused an increase in
relative air humidity which could result in a decrease
in Alternaria spore level in the atmosphere.
Wind speed plays an important role in spore release
and dispersal. This weather parameter was significant
predictor of Ganoderma and Cladosporium spore
concentrations in the air of Bratislava. We observed a
negative relationship between mentioned weather
parameter and spore concentrations of Ganoderma,
similar to that found in previous studies (Martı
´nez
Blanco et al. 2016; Grinn-Gofron
´et al. 2018). In
contrast to these results, we observed significant
positive correlations between wind speed and Cla-
dosporium spore concentrations. Similarly to our
results, Ste˛palska et al. (2012) observed that wind
velocity favoured high Didymella spore counts. Sev-
eral researchers (e.g. Martı
´nez Blanco et al. 2016;
Oliveira et al. 2005 and Peel et al. 2014) pointed out
that suction efficiency of Hirst-type 7-Day sampler is
sensitive to changes in the wind speed, by virtue of the
difference between ambient wind speed and the flow
rate through the sampler’s inlet causing air to accel-
erate or decelerate as it enters the sampler. This could
lead, with respect to aerospore’s physical properties,
namely, size, shape, density and surface characteristic
(Mandrioli 1998), to increase or decrease in spore
concentrations. In this context, we suggest that small,
123
Aerobiologia (2019) 35:343–356 353
approximately spherical and smooth spores of Gano-
derma (6–12 94–8 lm) (Almaguer et al. 2015) could
be due to air acceleration deviated from the trajectory
from the inlet stream and, consequently, the spore
concentration decreases, while larger, ellipsoidal and
verrucose Cladosporium spores (8–25 94–8 lm)
(Almaguer et al. 2015) are suctioned through the
sampler’s inlet; thus, the spore concentration
increases.
Among the meteorological parameters, relative air
humidity and sunshine duration were the most
consistent predictors for Leptosphaeria spore concen-
trations in summer. The relationship between spore
concentrations of mentioned taxa and relative air
humidity was positive, while the association with the
number of sunshine hours was negative. Research
conducted in Taiwan (Kallawicha et al. 2017) has
reported positive association between relative air
humidity and ascospores (including Leptosphaeria)
and negative association between sunlight and ascos-
pores, which is similar to our findings. The positive
influence of relative air humidity and negative influ-
ence of the sunshine duration on Leptosphaeria spore
levels in the air could be explained by the fact that wet-
air spore types require humid conditions to activate the
sporulation process (Shaheen 1992; Caldero
´n et al.
1995;Dı
´ez Herrero et al. 2006; Almaguer-Cha
´vez
et al. 2018). However, longer duration of sunshine,
especially in summer, leads to the desiccation of the
atmosphere and thus could lead to deceleration of
sporulation process. Moreover, Garcı
´a-Ferna
´ndez
et al. (2012) pointed out that high light intensity and
longer exposure duration can damage fungal cells and
lead to cell death.
Significantly lower Leptosphaeria spore concen-
trations were observed when winds blew predomi-
nantly from south-east direction. This result should be
explained by the fact that to the south-east from
monitoring station open landscape of Podunajska
´
´z
ˇina Lowland is situated. It is likely that this open
landscape wind could transport spores to the north-
west beyond the city.
For Coprinus, air temperature was the most
consistent predictor for its spore concentration. How-
ever, the low performance of regression for Coprinus
(Table 2) suggests that there are other factors influ-
encing its airborne spore concentration that are more
important than meteorological variables.
5 Conclusion
A great diversity of fungal spores was registered in the
atmosphere of Bratislava throughout the year 2016.
Among the 53 airborne fungal spore types identified,
the most frequent was Cladosporium, followed by
Coprinus,Leptosphaeria,Ganoderma and Alternaria.
Total airborne spore densities varied seasonally. The
highest spore concentrations were recorded in summer
and early autumn, when the meteorological conditions
are favourable for growth and sporulation of spores, by
contrast the winter and early spring months when the
lowest concentrations were observed.
The results of the multiple regression analysis
revealed that meteorological parameters were impor-
tant determinants of fungal spore concentrations
explained between 32.1 and 49.7% of the total
variance in spore concentration. For most analysed
fungal taxa, their spore concentrations showed signif-
icant positive association with air temperature and/or
significant negative association with relative air
humidity either throughout the year or only in
summer. Cladosporium spore concentration was pos-
itively related with the wind speed, whereas the
association between Ganoderma spore concentration
and wind speed was negative. Spores of Leptosphaeria
showed significant positive association with relative
air humidity and significant negative association with
sunshine duration in summer.
The patients suffering from respiratory allergies in
the Bratislava region may benefit from the created
spore calendar by avoiding high exposure to fungal
spores. Moreover, the results of our study can be
helpful for allergists in prevention of fungal allergic
diseases.
Acknowledgements This study was supported by the Grant
Agency VEGA (Bratislava), Grant Nos. 1/0885/16 and 2/0054/
18.
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356 Aerobiologia (2019) 35:343–356
... Many other types of fungal spores are rarely considered in the monitoring of a wider spectrum of aeroplankton components (e.g. Magyar et al., 2009;Akgül et al., 2016;Grinn-Gofroń et al., 2018;Antón et al., 2019;Ščevková and Kováč, 2019). However, they also comprise plant pathogens and potentially allergenic types. ...
... Cladosporium spores were the most abundant in the atmosphere of the entire study area, like in many other studies (Almaguer et al., 2014;Sadyś et al., 2015;Akgül et al., 2016;Grinn-Gofroń et al., 2018;Antón et al., 2019;Ščevková and Kováč, 2019), where they were reported to account for 30-85% of all spores recorded. Together with Alternaria (also a common spore type in our study), they are the bestknown causative agents of allergic reactions and plant diseases (Bavbek et al., 2006;Abuley and Nielsen, 2017;Nowakowska et al., 2019). ...
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The widespread fungal aeroplankton comprises numerous plant pathogens and allergenic components. Here, we present the first study describing the airborne spore composition in the Central and Eastern Black Sea region of Turkey against the background of meteorological variables and land use. This region is climatically diverse and there are large differences in altitude and land cover. Using multivariate statistical techniques, we assessed the combined effects of the main weather factors on the airborne spore count and temporal patterns of spore season for 30 fungal taxa in five provinces with three different climate types. Moreover, we combined meteorological and land use data to search for potential source areas of airborne spores recorded at the study sites. Spore season start and peak dates substantially varied between sites (maximally 130 days between western and eastern part of the study area – for Boletus mean start date), however for most of the taxa investigated the season ended at a similar time at different sites. All the meteorological variables included in redundancy analysis accounted for 10.8–48.9% of the total variance in the fungal spore data, with the highest value in sites with continental climate. Daily mean air temperature was the most important variable and significantly correlated with the daily count of all the spore types (0.11 ≤ rs ≤ 0.84). However, when temperature range was calculated for three large, percentile-based spore count clusters it turned out that between 17% (subtropical climate) and 56% (continental climate) of the taxa showed no difference in temperature between low and high counts. Finally, based on combination of wind conditions and land use data we identified grasslands, croplands and coniferous forests as the main potential sources of fungal spores in the study area, and suggested that spores from the forests may be transported over longer distances than from open areas.
... Many other types of fungal spores are rarely considered in the monitoring of a wider spectrum of aeroplankton components (e.g. Magyar et al., 2009;Akgül et al., 2016;Grinn-Gofroń et al., 2018;Antón et al., 2019;Ščevková and Kováč, 2019). However, they also comprise plant pathogens and potentially allergenic types. ...
... Cladosporium spores were the most abundant in the atmosphere of the entire study area, like in many other studies (Almaguer et al., 2014;Sadyś et al., 2015;Akgül et al., 2016;Grinn-Gofroń et al., 2018;Antón et al., 2019;Ščevková and Kováč, 2019), where they were reported to account for 30-85% of all spores recorded. Together with Alternaria (also a common spore type in our study), they are the bestknown causative agents of allergic reactions and plant diseases (Bavbek et al., 2006;Abuley and Nielsen, 2017;Nowakowska et al., 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
The widespread fungal aeroplankton comprises numerous plant pathogens and allergenic components. Here, we present the first study describing the airborne spore composition in the Central and Eastern Black Sea region of Turkey against the background of meteorological variables and land use. This region is climatically diverse and there are large differences in altitude and land cover. Using multivariate statistical techniques, we assessed the combined effects of the main weather factors on the airborne spore count and temporal patterns of spore season for 30 fungal taxa in five provinces with three different climate types. Moreover, we combined meteorological and land use data to search for potential source areas of airborne spores recorded at the study sites. Spore season start and peak dates substantially varied between sites (maximally 130 days between western and eastern part of the study area-for Boletus mean start date), however for most of the taxa investigated the season ended at a similar time at different sites. All the meteorological variables included in redundancy analysis accounted for 10.8-48.9% of the total variance in the fungal spore data, with the highest value in sites with continental climate. Daily mean air temperature was the most important variable and significantly correlated with the daily count of all the spore types (0.11 ≤ r s ≤ 0.84). However, when temperature range was calculated for three large, percentile-based spore count clusters it turned out that between 17% (subtropical climate) and 56% (continental climate) of the taxa showed no difference in temperature between low and high counts. Finally, based on combination of wind conditions and land use data we identified grasslands, croplands and coniferous forests as the main potential sources of fungal spores in the study area, and suggested that spores from the forests may be transported over longer distances than from open areas.
... An analysis of the literature data shows that the observed dynamics of changes in the concentration of microorganisms in atmospheric aerosols, as noted in [169][170][171], are mainly determined by many external factors (meteorology, including extreme events, season, region, etc.), particle dispersity and chemical composition of particles in which microorganisms are located, and atmospheric pollution and the genus (species, strain) of the microorganism itself. Simple relationships linking the observed concentrations of microorganisms in atmospheric aerosols with these factors cannot currently be identified. ...
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Background: Biological components of atmospheric aerosol affect the quality of atmospheric air. Long-term trends in changes of the concentrations of total protein (a universal marker of the biogenic component of atmospheric aerosol) and culturable microorganisms in the air are studied. Methods: Atmospheric air samples are taken at two locations in the south of Western Siberia and during airborne sounding of the atmosphere. Sample analysis is carried out in the laboratory using standard culture methods (culturable microorganisms) and the fluorescence method (total protein). Results: Negative trends in the average annual concentration of total protein and culturable microorganisms in the air are revealed over more than 20 years of observations. For the concentration of total protein and culturable microorganisms in the air, intra-annual dynamics is revealed. The ratio of the maximum and minimum values of these concentrations reaches an order of magnitude. The variability of concentrations does not exceed, as a rule, two times for total protein and three times for culturable microorganisms. At the same time, for the data obtained in the course of airborne sounding of the atmosphere, a high temporal stability of the vertical profiles of the studied concentrations was found. The detected biodiversity of culturable microorganisms in atmospheric air samples demonstrates a very high variability at all observation sites. Conclusions: The revealed long-term changes in the biological components of atmospheric aerosol result in a decrease in their contribution to the atmospheric air quality index.
... The taxa with the highest total annual counts, and therefore abundance, was Cladosporium, with counts of >750,000 spores per m 3 occurring in Seville (Spain) in 1998 (Aira et al., 2012) and Worcester (England) in (O'Connor et al., 2014. The taxa with the second highest annual count was Didymella with 190,186 spores per m 3 in Worcester (England) in 2008 , followed by Coprinus with 73,925 spores per m 3 in Bratislava (Slovakia) in 2016 (Scevkova and Kovac, 2019). Annual spore concentrations of Alternaria and Cladosporium followed a similar pattern to that of maximum daily spore concentrations ( Supplementary Information 9). ...
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Fungal spores make up a significant proportion of organic matter within the air. Allergic sensitisation to fungi is associated with conditions including allergic fungal airway disease. This systematic review analyses outdoor fungal spore seasonality across Europe and considers the implications for health. Seventy-four studies met the inclusion criteria, the majority of which (n = 64) were observational sampling studies published between 1978 and 2020. The most commonly reported genera were the known allergens Alternaria and Cladosporium, measured in 52 and 49 studies, respectively. Both displayed statistically significant increased season length in south-westerly (Mediterranean) versus north-easterly (Atlantic and Continental) regions. Although there was a trend for reduced peak or annual Alternaria and Cladosporium spore concentrations in more northernly locations, this was not statistically significant. Peak spore concentrations of Alternaria and Cladosporium exceeded clinical thresholds in nearly all locations, with median peak concentrations of 665 and 18,827 per m³, respectively. Meteorological variables, predominantly temperature, precipitation and relative humidity, were the main factors associated with fungal seasonality. Land-use was identified as another important factor, particularly proximity to agricultural and coastal areas. While correlations of increased season length and decreased annual spore concentrations with increasing average temperatures were reported in multi-decade sampling studies, the number of such studies was too small to make any definitive conclusions. Further, up-to-date studies covering underrepresented geographical regions and fungal taxa (including the use of modern molecular techniques), the impact of land-use and climate change will help address remaining knowledge gaps. Such knowledge will help to better understand fungal allergy, develop improved fungal spore calendars and forecasts with greater geographical coverage, and promote increased awareness and management strategies for those with allergic fungal disease.
... Allergic diseases have increased in the last decades affecting the population more frequently, which generates greater interest in aerobiological studies with a particular focus on fungal spores present in the atmosphere (Erkara et al., 2009). These studies cover multiple aspects, from the interaction of spores with meteorological factors (Olsen et al., 2019a) to the creation of spore calendars (Š čevková & Kováč, 2019), the study of seasonal and intradiurnal variation (Khan et al., 2016) and the interaction between spores and their allergenicity (Grewling et al., 2019). ...
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The purpose of this study is to contribute to the knowledge about fungal spores in the atmosphere of the city of Salamanca (Middle West Spain), through the comparative study of Alternaria spore levels in two different sampling points within the same city. The study was done in terms of seasonal and hourly distribution and the possible influence of the main meteorological parameters on their atmospheric concentrations. The sampling was carried out from 17 February 2014 to 16 February 2016, both included, with two Hirst-type volumetric spore trap samplers, in two buildings in the city: one in a semi-urban environment, on the outskirts of the city, and the other in the city centre, 1.4 km apart. After the two years of sampling, the total annual values of Alternaria varied very little concerning the location of the samplers. The maximum values coincided in the two spore traps during 2014–2015 on the same day with similar amounts, whereas in 2015–2016 the difference was more noticeable both in date and amount. In the study of the seasonality of Alternaria's atmospheric distribution, there were no differences in the length of the main spore season nor the number of days with health risk levels (concentrations above 100 spores/m3). With regard to correlations, the analyses carried out between daily concentrations in both samplers obtained highly significant and positive results. The influence of meteorological parameters on spore levels, showed a positive effect of temperature and sunshine, as well as a negative one for humidity and rainfall.
... To construct the spore calendars, the mean daily spore concentrations for periods of 10 days were transformed into exponential classes (EC): EC 1: 1-5 spores/m 3 , EC 2: 6-10 spores/m 3 , EC 3: 11-25 spores/ m 3 , EC 4: 26-50 spores/m 3 , EC 5: 51-100 spores/m 3 and EC 6: 101-500 spores/m 3 (Š čevková & Kováč, 2019;Š čevková et al., 2010;Spieksma, 1991). ...
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Aspergillus and Penicillium spores occur with considerable frequency in the outdoor air, and their presence is important due to implications in health, agriculture and biodeterioration of cultural heritage. The objective of this research was to study their abundance in the atmosphere of Havana from 2013 to 2017. Two study methods were used, viable method monitoring of the spores with Chirana Aeroscope equipment and the other a non-viable method Lanzoni VPPS 2000. The Aspergillus/Penicillium spores were found to occur with high frequency, their atmospheric concentration varied statistically between climatic seasons, the highest incidence was detected during 2013 and 2015. Aspergillus was more abundant (69%) than Penicillium (31%), with a predominance of the Flavi and Nigri sections, and for Penicillium predominated Penicillium and Furcatum. The viable method, 23 species of Aspergillus and 22 of Penicillium were identified, of which A. flavus, A. niger, P. aurantiogriseum and P. citrinum predominated. A greater degree of similarity was observed in the composition of Aspergillus species, with higher indices (Di,j 0.40-0.73) compared to Penicillium (Di,j 0.30-0.55). The principal component analysis (PCA) showed a high degree of positive association between Aspergillus/Penicillium and relative humidity (non-viable method) and between Aspergillus and Penicillium and maximum and average temperatures (viable method).
... This is mainly due to the dependence on air turbulence [15,48]. Several studies have reported that the genus Cladosporium is one of the most frequently found organism in the indoor and outdoor environments (up to 33%) [45,[49][50][51][52][53]. The dimensions of the conidia, which are larger than those of the genera Aspergillus and Penicillium, favors their capture through different sampling methods [16]. ...
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Abstract: Ambient fungal spores within the atmosphere can contribute to a range of negative human, animal and plant health conditions and diseases. However, trends in fungal spore seasonality, species prevalence, and geographical origin have been significantly understudied in Ireland. Previously unpublished data from the late 1970s have recently been collected and analysed to establish historical fungal spore trends/characteristics for Dublin. Historical spore concentrations were largely dominated by Alternaria, Ascospores, Basidiospores, Botrytis, Cladosporium, Erysiphe and Rusts. The main fungal spore season for Dublin commenced in April with the fructification of Scopulariopsis and Ganoderma. However, the vast majority of other spore types did not reach peak spore release until late summer. The correlation between ambient spore concentration, and meteorological parameters was examined using Multivariable Regression Tree (MRT) analysis. The notable correlations found for fungal spore concentrations tended to involve temperature-based parameters. The use of a non-parametric wind regression was also employed to determine the potential geographical origin of ambient fungal spores. The impact of wind direction, and high windspeed on fungal spores was established, ultimately highlighting the importance of studying and monitoring fungal spores within Ireland, rather than attempting to rely on data from other regions, as most fungal spores collected in Dublin appeared to originate from within the island.
Article
The growing incidences of asthma, allergic rhinitis/hayfever, and other pollen-associated allergenic diseases have become an important issue in recent years. A qualitative and quantitative evaluation of airborne pollen in Chandigarh was conducted during 2018–2020 using a Burkard volumetric-spore sampler. The Annual Pollen Integral was 21,244 pollen grains/m³ in 2018-19 and 20,412 pollen grains/m³ in 2019-20, belonging to 74 pollen types. The greatest annual mean pollen percentage for 2018-2020 was attributed to Morus alba (66.74%) followed by Poaceae (6.55%), Cannabis sativa (6.74%), Celtis occidentalis (2.25%), Parthenium hysterophorus (1.51%), Eucalyptus sp. (1.37%) and remaining pollen types represented 14.84% altogether. The highest pollen concentrations were observed from February to April, corresponding to the pollen taxa seasonality that mainly contributes to the local airborne pollen spectrum. The airborne pollen calendar of Chandigarh depicts seasonal periodicities. The annual cycle shows two main seasons, i.e., a spring season dominated by arboreal pollen types (Celtis occidentalis, Eucalyptus sp., Morus alba and Pinus sp.) and autumn season dominated by herbs (Amaranthaceae/Chenopodiaceae, Cannabis sativa and Poaceae). The magnitude of start and end dates with season-length for key species were also observed, showing substantial higher pollen concentration and longer seasons length over a period of two years in Chandigarh. This seems to be linked with their extended reproductive cycle and the flowering period, including the impact of inter-year climatic variations. Identifying key allergic species and their pollen-releasing seasons, including the development of the pollen calendar, will be useful to develop strategies to reduce the impact of pollen allergy for susceptible individuals.
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Fungal fragments are abundant immunoreactive bioaerosols that may outnumber the concentrations of intact spores in the air. To investigate the importance of Alternaria fragments as sources of allergens compared to Alternaria spores, we determined the levels of Alternaria spores and Alt a 1 (the major allergen in Alternaria alternata spores) collected on filters within three fractions of particulate matter (PM) of different aerodynamic diameter: (1) PM>10, (diameter>10 μm); (2) PM2.5-10 (2.5–10μm); (3) PM2.5 (0.12–2.5 μm). The airborne particles were collected using a three stage high-volume ChemVol cascade impactor during the Alternaria sporulation season in Poznań, Poland (30 d between 6 July and 22 September 2016). The quantification of Alt a 1 was performed using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. High concentrations of Alt a 1 were recorded during warm and dry d characterized by high sunshine duration, lack of clouds and high dew point values. Atmospheric concentrations of Alternaria spores correlated significantly (r = 0.930, p < 0.001) with Alt a 1 levels. The highest Alt a 1 was recorded in PM2.5-10 (66.8 % of total Alt a 1), while the lowest in PM2.5 (<1.0 %). Significantly more Alt a 1 per spore (>30 %) was observed in PM2.5-10 than in PM>10. This Alt a 1 excess may be derived from sources other than spores, e.g. hyphal fragments. Overall, in outdoor air the major source of Alt a 1 are intact Alternaria spores, but the impact of other fungal fragments (hyphal parts, broken spores, conidiophores) cannot be neglected, as they may increase the total atmospheric Alt a 1 concentration.
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Purpose of Review The evolution of molecular-based methods over the last two decades has provided new approaches to identify and characterize fungal communities or “mycobiomes” at resolutions previously not possible using traditional hazard identification methods. The recent focus on fungal community assemblages within indoor environments has provided renewed insight into overlooked sources of fungal exposure. In occupational studies, internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region sequencing has recently been utilized in a variety of environments ranging from indoor office buildings to agricultural commodity and harvesting operations. Recent Findings Fungal communities identified in occupational environments have been primarily placed in the phylum Ascomycota and included classes typically identified using traditional fungal exposure methods such as the Eurotiomycetes, Dothideomycetes, Sordariomycetes, and Saccharomycetes. The phylum Basidiomycota has also been reported to be more prevalent than previously estimated and ITS region sequences have been primarily derived from the classes Agaricomycetes and Ustilaginomycetes. These studies have also resolved sequences placed in the Basidiomycota classes Tremellomycetes and Exobasidiomycetes that include environmental and endogenous yeast species. Summary These collective datasets have shown that occupational fungal exposures include a much broader diversity of fungi than once thought. Although the clinical implications for occupational allergy are an emerging field of research, establishing the mycobiome in occupational environments will be critical for future studies to determine the complete spectrum of worker exposures to fungal bioaerosols and their impact on worker health.
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An aeromycological study to identify and quantify allergenic fungi and their fluctuations was conducted at Timisoara. The diversity of the aeromycoflora in this study, based on the recovery of fungal propagules by the volumetric sampling method was conducted for 30 days using the Lanzoni sampler. The study showed that the most prevalent (major components) fungal spores in the air of Timisoara were Cladosporium spp., Drechslera/Helminthosporium spp., Alternaria spp. and Epicoccum spp. The abundant genera were Cladosporium, Fusarium/Leptosphaeria, Drechslera/Helminthosporium, Alternaria and Torula. Cladosporium was the most abundant fungal spore type (41%) collected throughout the period of study reaching.
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Air sampling was conducted in Szczecin (Poland) throughout April–September 2013. The final data set included 177 daily and 4248 hourly samples. The total of 21 types of spores, which occurred in a number >10 in the season, were taken into account. The following meteorological parameters were analyzed: air temperature, relative humidity, precipitation and wind speed. Effects of individual weather parameters on hourly and daily concentrations of different fungal spore types were examined using Spearman’s rank association test, whereas effects of complex of meteorological factors on hourly and daily compositions of spore were assessed using detrended correspondence analysis (DCA) and redundancy analysis (RDA). Airborne fungal spore distribution patterns in relation to meteorological variables were determined by RDA, after DCA results detected a linear structure of the spore data. The RDA results obtained indicated that all the applied variables accounted for 20 and 22% of the total variance in the hourly and daily spore data, respectively. The results of stepwise forward selection of variables revealed all included hourly and daily meteorological variables were statistically significant. The largest amount of the total variance in the spore composition was explained by the air temperature in both cases (16%). Multivariate ordination did not show large differences between the hourly and daily relationships (with exception of wind speed impact), while the differences between simple hourly and daily correlations were more clear. Correlations between daily values of variables were in most cases higher than between hourly values of variables.
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Ambient particles comprise approximately 25% of fungal spores, which cause adverse health outcomes such as respiratory diseases, allergy, and infection. In this study, we investigated temporal variations and distributions of ambient fungal spores in an urban area of the Taipei metropolis for over 1 year. A Burkard 7-day volumetric spore trap was used to collect air samples. Samples collected daily were stained, counted, and identified on the basis of morphological characteristics. The associations between fungal spores and environmental parameters were then evaluated through multiple regression analysis. Daily monitoring data revealed a large variation in fungal spore concentrations. Specifically, fungal spores peaked during summer months (June–August) and declined during winter months (December–early March); moreover, the average concentration of total fungal spores was 3,607.97 ± 3,181.81 spores m–3. Ascospores were the most prevalent taxon that was recovered from the samples, followed by basidiospores, Aspergillus/Penicillium, and Cladosporium. Multiple regression analysis revealed that meteorological parameters were the main predictors of fungal concentrations. Temperature, wind speed, and humidity were consistently correlated with total fungi and major fungal taxa, and sunlight had a negative association with ascospores. Among the atmospheric pollutants, particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter ≤ 10 µm (PM10) and ozone were positively associated with fungal spores. Carbon monoxide (CO) at lag day 1 had a negative association with basidiospores. This is the first study to characterize daily concentrations and determinants of ambient fungal spores in an urban area of Taipei metropolis. The obtained data can be used to evaluate the health impact of fungal spore exposure on the residents of the Taipei metropolitan area.
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In this first study on aeromycota from the state of Sonora, Mexico, the airborne fungal diversity of Ciudad Obregón was determined and quantified with a Hirst-type sampler according to internationally accepted methods (Spanish Aerobiology Network). Spearman statistical correlations between the dominant fungal taxa and several meteorological parameters were established for the dry (January-May) and wet (June-December) seasons for two sampling periods (January-December of 2008 and 2011). The annual fungal indices for 2008 and 2011 were 917 and 1,690 spores, respectively. The dominant spores during both years were Alternaria, Cladosporium and Aspergillus/Penicillium. Statistically significant positive correlations were obtained between the total spore count with precipitation and relative humidity. This study highlights that the dominant genera in arid zones are Alternaria, Aspergillus/Penicillium and Cladosporium, which is similar to other regions. However, in cities with arid climates that are surrounded by crops, Alternaria is dominant, followed by Cladosporium and Aspergillus/Penicillium in smaller proportions. This finding could be related to the systematic use of fungicides in agricultural regions and the selective effect of these agrochemicals. The consequences of fungicide use on human and crop health must be evaluated. Aspergillus/Penicillium does not exhibit a seasonal pattern when studied using the Hirst method.
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This study presents the results of a Europe-wide training and Quality Control (QC) exercise carried out within the framework of the European Aerobiology Society’s QC Working Group and European COST Action FA1203 entitled “sustainable management of Ambrosia artemisiifolia in Europe (SMARTER)” with the aim of ensuring that pollen counters in Europe are confident in the identification of Ambrosia pollen grains. A total of 69 analysts from 20 countries examined a test slide by light microscopy, which contained Ambrosia pollen and pollen from other Asteraceae that could be recorded in the atmosphere at the same time of year (i.e. Artemisia, Iva, and Xanthium). Daily average pollen concentrations produced by individual participants were compared with the assigned value and the bias was measured by z-score. Both the assigned value and standard deviation for proficiency testing were calculated following the consensus value principle (ISO13528:2005) from the results reported by all the participants in the test. It took a total of 531 days from when the exercise commenced until all 69 analysts reported their results. The most outliers were reported for Artemisia pollen concentrations followed by Xanthium and Iva. The poor results for Artemisia and Xanthium were probably caused by low concentrations on the test slide leading to larger bias due to the unequal distribution of pollen over the microscope slide. Participants performed the best in identifying and quantifying Ambrosia pollen. Performing inter-laboratory ring tests with the same sample is very time consuming and might not be appropriate for large-scale proficiency testing in aerobiology. Pollen with similar morphology should be included in the education process of aerobiologists.
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A calendar of fungal spore seasons for Szczecin during 2013 was established using a 7-day volumetric Lanzoni trap. Thirty-five spore taxa were identified. The dominant spore types detected were Cladosporium (66%), Didymella (29%), Alternaria (1.67%), and Leptosphaeria type (1.21%). The spores were present throughout the study year. However, there was a wide daily fluctuation in the concentration values with a tendency towards an increase during the summer months. Seasonally, the spore levels of Cladosporium , Alternaria , and Leptosphaeria type peaked in summer (June?September), while those of Didymella mainly in July. Most of the other spore types had the highest concentrations in summer but occurred in the air from spring to late fall.
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The aim of this paper was to make a first approximation of the fungal spore airborne content in Valladolid along the year, constructing the first spore calendar for the middle-west of Spain. So that, we monitored the city during 2005 and 2006, being Cladosporium the most abundant type, present all over the year (together with Pleospora). The greatest atmospheric spore diversity was observed in April in contrast with February. The intra-diurnal pattern for Alternaria, Cladosporium and Dreschlera was very similar with an hourly concentration percentage decreasing along two periods, whereas Coprinus, Ganoderma and Periconia showed a clearly nocturnal pattern. The meteorological parameter that most influenced airborne spore concentrations was temperature, significantly and positively in the case of dry-air spores but negatively for wet-air spores.
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Introduction: Although airborne fungal diversity in tropical countries is known to be considerable, aerobiological research to-date has identified only a part of the fungal mycobiota that may have an impact both on human health and on crops. Previous studies in Havana city identified only 30 genera and 5 spore types; therefore,new research is required in these latitudes. This study sought to investigate airborne spore levels in Havana, with a view to learning more about local fungal diversity and assessing its influence in quantitative terms. Material and methods: A Hirst type volumetric sampler was located on the rooftop of a building 35 meters above ground level, in a busy area of the city. Sampling was carried out continuously (operating 24hours/day), at 10 L per minute during the year 2015. The fungal spores were collected on a Melinex tape coated with a 2% silicone solution. The results were expressed as spores per cubic meter (spores/m<sup>3</sup>) of air when to referring to daily values, and spores count if referring to annual value. Results: Fourteen new genera were identified in the course of volumetric sampling: six produce ascospores and eight conidia. Morphobiometric characteristics were noted for all genera, and airborne concentrations were calculated. These genera accounted for 56.4% of relative fungal frequency over the study year. Conclusions: Many airbone fungi are primary causes of both respiratory disease and crop damage. These new findings constitute a major contribution to Cuba's aerobiological database.