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Assessment of multi-contaminant exposure in a cancer treatment center: a 2-year monitoring of molds, mycotoxins, endotoxins, and glucans in bioaerosols

Heutte, Natacha, André, Véronique, Dubos Arvis, Catherine, Bouchart, Valérie, Lemarié, Françoise, Legendre, Patrick, Votier, Edwige, Louis, Marie-Yolande, Madelaine, Stéphane, Séguin, Virginie, Gente, Stéphanie, Vérité, Philippe, Garon, David
Environmental monitoring and assessment 2017 v.189 no.1 pp. 31
Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus versicolor, Cladosporium herbarum, Penicillium brevicompactum, Purpureocillium lilacinum, air, air quality, autumn, bioaerosols, endotoxins, fungi, glucans, health services, hospitals, microbial contamination, monitoring, mutagens, mycotoxins, neoplasms, patients, public health, relative humidity, seasonal variation, statistical analysis, summer, France
Indoor air quality in health care facilities is a major public health concern, particularly for immunocompromised patients who may be exposed to microbiological contaminants such as molds, mycotoxins, endotoxins, and (1,3)-ß-D-glucans. Over 2 years, bioaerosols were collected on a monthly basis in a cancer treatment center (Centre F. Baclesse, Normandy, France), characterized from areas where there was no any particular air treatment. Results showed the complexity of mycoflora in bioaerosols with more than 100 fungal species identified. A list of major strains in hospital environments could be put forward due to the frequency, the concentration level, and/or the capacity to produce mycotoxins in vitro: Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus melleus, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus versicolor, Cladosporium herbarum, Purpureocillium lilacinum, and Penicillium brevicompactum. The mean levels of viable airborne fungal particles were less than 30.530 CFU per m³ of air and were correlated to the total number of 0.30 to 20 μm particles. Seasonal variations were observed with fungal particle peaks during the summer and autumn. Statistical analysis showed that airborne fungal particle levels depended on the relative humidity level which could be a useful indicator of fungal contamination. Finally, the exposure to airborne mycotoxins was very low (only 3 positive samples), and no mutagenic activity was found in bioaerosols. Nevertheless, some fungal strains such as Aspergillus versicolor or Penicillium brevicompactum showed toxigenic potential in vitro.