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Ambient Fungal Spore Concentration in a Subtropical Metropolis: Temporal Distributions and Meteorological Determinants

Category: Bioaerosols

Volume: 17 | Issue: 8 | Pages: 2051-2063
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2016.10.0450

Export Citation:  RIS | BibTeX

Kraiwuth Kallawicha1,2, Yi-Chen Chen3, H. Jasmine Chao4, Wei-Chiang Shen5, Bing-Yu Chen6, Yu-Chen Chuang1, Yue Leon Guo 1,3,6

  • 1 Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University (NTU) and NTU Hospital, Taipei 10051, Taiwan
  • 2 Environmental Toxicology Program, Chulabhorn Graduate Institute, Bangkok 10210, Thailand
  • 3 Graduate Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei 10055, Taiwan
  • 4 School of Public Health, College of Public Health, Taipei Medical University, Taipei 11031, Taiwan
  • 5 Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, National Taiwan University, Taipei 10617, Taiwan
  • 6 National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Health Research Institutes, Miaoli County 35053, Taiwan


First study to monitor daily ambient fungal spores in a subtropical city for 1 year.
Total and major fungal spore concentrations were high in summer and low in winter.
Aspergillus/Penicillium concentration was 40× higher than previous reported.
Effects of CO, dew point, and wind speed were observed up to lag day 1.


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.


Fungal spores Bioaerosols Temporal distribution Air pollution

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