New findings of airborne fungal spores in the atmosphere of Havana, Cuba, using aerobiological non-viable methodology
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Department of Microbiology and Virology, Faculty of Biology, University of Habana, La Habana 10400, Cuba
Department of Botany, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Santiago, Santiago de Compostela 15782, Spain
Department of Plant Biology and Soil Sciences, Faculty of Sciences, University of Vigo, 32004 Ourense, Spain
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/m3) of air when to referring to daily values, and spores count if referring to annual value.

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.

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.

María Jesús Aira   
Universidade de Santiago, 15701 Santiago de Compostela, Spain
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