Air-spore in Cartagena, Spain: Viable and non-viable sampling methods

Jose Moreno 1,  
Nuria Vergara 1,  
Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Universidad Politecnica de Cartagena, Cartagena, Spain
Ann Agric Environ Med 2013;20(4):664–671
In the presented study the airborne fungal spores of the semiarid city of Cartagena, Spain, are identified and quantified by means of viable or non-viable sampling methods. Airborne fungal samples were collected simultaneously using a filtration method and a pollen and particle sampler based on the Hirst methodology. This information is very useful for elucidating geographical patterns of hay fever and asthma. The qualitative results showed that when the non-viable methodology was employed, [i]Cladosporium, Ustilago[/i], and [i]Alternaria[/i] were the most abundant spores identified in the atmosphere of Cartagena, while the viable methodology showed that the most abundant taxa were: [i]Cladosporium[/i], [i]Penicillium, Aspergillus[/i] and[i] Alternaria[/i]. The quantitative results of airborne fungal spores identified by the Hirst-type air sampler (non-viable method), showed that Deuteromycetes represented 74% of total annual spore counts, [i]Cladosporium[/i] being the major component of the fungal spectrum (62.2%), followed by [i]Alternaria[/i] (5.3%), and [i]Stemphylium[/i] (1.3%). The Basidiomycetes group represented 18.9% of total annual spore counts, [i]Ustilago[/i] (7.1%) being the most representative taxon of this group and the second most abundant spore type. Ascomycetes accounted for 6.9%, [i]Nectria[/i] (2.3%) being the principal taxon. [i]Oomycetes[/i] (0.2%) and [i]Zygomycestes[/i] and [i]Myxomycestes[/i] (0.06%) were scarce. The prevailing species define our bioaerosol as typical of dry air. The viable methodology was better at identifying small hyaline spores and allowed for the discrimination of the genus of some spore types. However, non-viable methods revealed the richness of fungal types present in the bioaerosol. Thus, the use of both methodologies provides a more comprehensive characterization of the spore profile.