Recent studies have drawn attention to fungal hyphae and smaller-sized fungal fragments as tentative causes of indoor health problems. Furthermore, experimental studies have suggested that the inflammatory properties of fungal spores are modulated by their viability showing allergic responses to viable spores and non-allergic responses to non-viable spores. However, since no method for measurement of fungal fragments exists, the airborne levels indoor and outdoor, and their toxic properties are largely unknown. Thus, possible health implications of fungal particles besides spores are still very unclear.

The goals for this project are therefore to:i) develop measurement methods for viable and non-viable spores, hyphae and fragments, ii) assess their airborne levels in a small proof-of-principle study in common indoor environments and in moisture-damaged buildings, iii) characterize these fungal particles by chemical and biological methods, and iv) study their toxic properties in vitro and in vivo.
For this purpose, viable and non-viable spores, hyphae and fragments will be prepared from pure cultures of fungal species associated with moisture-damage in buildings. The results are expected to provide new methods for exposure assessment of fungal particles to be used in future epidemiological studies, and new insights in the possible role that fungal growth in indoor environments may have on respiratory health.