Occupational exposure to airborne fungi among rice mill workers with specialreference to aflatoxin producing A. flavus strains.
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National Institute of Occupational Health, Meghani Nagar, Ahmedabad, India
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2003;10(2):159–162
A study was undertaken on environmental mycoflora of rice mills situatedin Bawla town, Ahmedabad district. The airborne fungal communities were isolated and identified quantitativelyby using Andersen-6-stage viable sampler, midget impinger and high volume samplers (Cone and Hexhletfor total and respirable dusts respectively). Of all the isolates, genus Aspergillus was predominantand among the Aspergillus species, A. flavus was the common isolate, irrespective of the method appliedfor sample collection. Number of isolates recovered from the working place was significantly greater(p<0.01) compared to control. Total percentage of aflatoxin positive strains of A. flavus was 8 %.These aflatoxin producing strains were identified on various media, such as Czapek agar (Cz) with 0.05% anisaldehyde, APA and CAM. Surface morphology of aflatoxin positive strains was studied by SEM. Highlysignificant total and respirable dust concentrations were found in the work place (p<0.01) whereasin the store, only the total dust concentration was significantly higher (p<0.05) than the controlsite. The study indicates that the rice mill workers are occupationally exposed to airborne aflatoxinproducing strains of A. flavus. Thus, they require protective mask for their safety.