RESEARCH PAPER
New findings of airborne fungal spores in the atmosphere of Havana, Cuba, using aerobiological non-viable methodology
 
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1
Department of Microbiology and Virology, Faculty of Biology, University of Habana, La Habana 10400, Cuba
2
Department of Botany, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Santiago, Santiago de Compostela 15782, Spain
3
Department of Plant Biology and Soil Sciences, Faculty of Sciences, University of Vigo, 32004 Ourense, Spain
 
Ann Agric Environ Med 2018;25(2):349–359
KEYWORDS:
TOPICS:
ABSTRACT:
Introduction:
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.

Results:
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.

Conclusions:
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.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR:
María Jesús Aira   
Universidade de Santiago, 15701 Santiago de Compostela, Spain
 
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