Identifying risk factors for exposure to culturable allergenic moulds in energy efficient homes by using highly specific monoclonal antibodies.
Reason for embargo
The aim of this study was to determine the accuracy of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) in identifying culturable allergenic fungi present in visible mould growth in energy efficient homes, and to identify risk factors for exposure to these known allergenic fungi. Swabs were taken from fungal contaminated surfaces and culturable yeasts and moulds isolated by using mycological culture. Soluble antigens from cultures were tested by ELISA using mAbs specific to the culturable allergenic fungi Aspergillus and Penicillium spp., Ulocladium, Alternaria, and Epicoccum spp., Cladosporium spp., Fusarium spp., and Trichoderma spp. Diagnostic accuracies of the ELISA tests were determined by sequencing of the internally transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1)-5.8S-ITS2-encoding regions of recovered fungi following ELISA. There was 100% concordance between the two methods, with ELISAs providing genus-level identity and ITS sequencing providing species-level identities (210 out of 210 tested). Species of Aspergillus/Penicillium, Cladosporium, Ulocladium/Alternaria/Epicoccum, Fusarium and Trichoderma were detected in 82% of the samples. The presence of condensation was associated with an increased risk of surfaces being contaminated by Aspergillus/Penicillium spp. and Cladosporium spp., whereas moisture within the building fabric (water ingress/rising damp) was only associated with increased risk of Aspergillus/Penicillium spp. Property type and energy efficiency levels were found to moderate the risk of indoor surfaces becoming contaminated with Aspergillus/Penicillium and Cladosporium which in turn was modified by the presence of condensation, water ingress and rising damp, consistent with previous literature.
Richard Sharpe's PhD scholarship was funded by the European Social Fund Convergence Program for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, and was undertaken in collaboration with Coastline Housing. The European Centre for Environment and Human Health (part of the University of Exeter Medical School) is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund Program 2007–2013 and European Social Fund Convergence Program for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Elsevier via the DOI in this record.
Environmental Research, 2016, Vol. 144, Part A, pp. 32 - 42
Place of publication