Dustborne Fungal Diversity in Middle-Income Homes in New York City and Determinants for Domestic Exposure

Luis M. Acosta, MD, Nitzan Soffer, PhD, Adnan Divjan, Merissa McGraw-Boitnotte, Edward Sobek, PhD, Angela R. Lemons, Matthew S. Perzanowski, PhD, Brett J. Green, PhD



Recent advances in quantitative polymerase chain reaction methodologies help overcome limitations associated with traditional methods of fungal exposure assessment and provide a sensitive and specific approach to evaluate and quantify fungal diversity. We hypothesize that abundance/types of domestic dustborne fungi vary across NYC middle-income housing by neighborhood, home habits and housing type.



In this study, 7-8 year-old children (n=347) living in higher (11-18%) and lower (3-9%) asthma prevalence neighborhoods (HAPN and LAPN, respectively) were recruited as part of the New York City (NYC) Neighborhood Asthma and Allergy Study, an asthma case-control study. Bedroom floor dust from homes in HAPN (n=139) and LAPN (n=142) were collected and analyzed by qPCR for 36 fungal species (Environmental Relative Moldiness Index panel). Differences in fungal abundances were tested across factors chosen a prioribased on their potential to influence mold growth.



Due to low abundances of fungi in dust samples (<10 spores/mg, >10% per sample), 20 of 36 fungal species were included in statistical tests. The abundance of Mucor amphibiorum and Cladosporium sphaerospermumwere both reduced in homes where shoe removal was reported (p <0.01). Only Penicillium glabrum was elevated with participant reports of indoor mold (p<0.01). Aureobasidium pullulansPenicillium glabrum,Wallemia sebi and Alternaria alternatavaried by housing type (single, multi-family or apartment) and neighborhood asthma prevalence.



Overall, these preliminary results indicate that multiple environmental factors including anthropogenic behavior modification, housing type, and neighborhood are important variables that influence fungal diversity within middle-income homes in New York City.

abstract No: 

    • AAAAI 2015 (71st)