Complementarity of conventional and molecular methods in the assessment of fungal contamination caused by Aspergillus fumigatus complex in one Portuguese composting plant

Ref ID: 19545


C Viegas1*, AQ Gomes1,2, R Sabino1,3

Author address:

1Environmental and Health RG, Lisbon School of Health Technology – Polytechnique Institute of Lisbon,
Lisbon, Portugal
2Institute of Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
3Mycology Laboratory, Instituto Na

Full conference title:

6th Advances Against Aspergillosis 2014


This study intended to characterize fungal contamination in a totally indoor composting plant
located in Portugal. Besides conventional methods, molecular biology was also applied to overcome
eventual limitations.
Air and surfaces samples from one composting plant were collected through impaction and swab
methods, respectively. The analyzed places inside this plant were: maturation park, waste screw,
maintenance workshop, room process control, pre-treatment and centrifugues. After laboratory
processing and incubation of the collected samples, quantitative and qualitative results were obtained,
with identification of the isolated fungal species. For molecular analysis, air samples of 250L were
also collected from the same sampling sites using the impinger method. Molecular detection of
Aspergillus fumigatus-complex was achieved by Real Time PCR (RT-PCR).
Nine different species of filamentous fungi were identified in air samples with a total of 982 isolates.
Aspergillus genus showed the highest prevalence (90.6%) of isolates. The complexes Nigri (32.6%),
Fumigati (26.5%) and Flavi (16.3%) were the most prevalent fungi in air sampling. Four different
species were isolated in surfaces samples with a total of 1810000 isolates. Aspergillus genus also
showed the highest prevalence (60.8%). Mucor sp. (39.2%), and the Aspergillus complexes Nigri
(30.9%) and Fumigati (28.7%) were the most frequently found. Regarding the results obtained from
molecular methods, A. fumigatus complex was detected in one more sampling site (maintenance
workshop) than using conventional methods, and was also detected in the air samples from two
sampling sites that were not isolated with conventional methods (maturation park and room process
The complementarity of conventional and molecular methodologies was corroborated in this study,
since it was possible to achieve to a more realistic scenario regarding A. fumigatus complex exposure
assessment by the use of both methods. The results obtained highlight the need to apply conventional
and molecular methods to assess occupational fungal exposure in highly contaminated settings.

Abstract Number: 72

Conference Year: 2014

Link to conference website:

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