Exposure to the airborne mould Botrytis and its health effects.
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The National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark
Claudia Wurtz Jurgensen
The National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Lerso Parkalle 105, DK-2100 Copenhagen O, Denmark.
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2009;16(2):183–196
Most investigations into the correlation between exposure to fungi and detrimental health effects focus on the 2-4 most prevalent genera in ambient air, both outdoors and indoors. Yet over 80 genera of fungi have been shown to have allergenic potential. Also, there is no agreement about threshold values for exposure to fungi. One of the fungal genera expected to be less prevalent in ambient air and known to cause allergy is Botrytis. In this review, we investigate the airborne exposure level and health effect of Botrytis, both at general exposure and in occupational settings. The surveyed papers show that Botrytis is found globally with different spore seasons depending on the region investigated. The levels of Botrytis in the percentage of all fungi have a calculated median of around 1.1% in the different environments, confirming that it is among the less prevalent fungi. Furthermore, a substantial proportion of patients and workers are allergic to Botrytis cinerea, and when B. cinerea was included in extended test panels additional allergic patients were found. Thus, B. cinerea is as important as the more prevalent mould genera Cladosporium and Alternaria and we suggest that it should be included in standard allergic tests panels.