Comparison of Airborne Mold in the Mojave Desert and Las Vegas

Tanviben Patel, MPH, Alyssa Panning, David Rivas, Hongbin Jin, PhD, MPH, RN, Mark Buttner, PhD, Dennis Bazylinski, PhD, Joram S. Seggev, MD FAAAAI



This study compared airborne mold concentrations in Las Vegas with the surrounding desert to determine seasonal variability between the urban and rural desert environments.


Air samples were collected using a Burkard spore trap from January 1st to December 31st2015, at a National Allergy Bureau (NAB) site in Las Vegas and a site in the Mojave Desert, located approximately 32 miles south of Las Vegas. Microscope slides were prepared and analyzed by light microscopy.


Las Vegas had an annual mean of 374±280 spores/m3 compared to 350±265 spores/m3 at the Mojave site (p<0.01). The peak concentrations occurred in June (1917 spores/m3) in Las Vegas and in March (1789 spores/m3) for the Mojave site. There were differences observed between Cladosporium and smut concentrations. At the Mojave site, the peak was in July with 1151 spores/m3, while the peak was in June for Las Vegas (696 spores/m3). The smut concentrations for both sites had the highest concentrations in June, with lower concentration is Las Vegas (599 grains/m3) compared to the Mojave desert (1439 grains/m3).


Mold concentrations in Las Vegas and the Mojave Desert show similar overall patterns. For both locations, Cladosporium and smuts had higher counts during the warmer months (March-September), which is consistent with expected trends for airborne molds. Although the Mojave location had a slightly lower mean concentration than Las Vegas, both Cladosporium and smut levels were higher in the Mojave site.  Higher variation in the types of molds was observed at the Las Vegas site.


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Full conference title: 

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 2017
    • AAAAI 2017 (73rd)