Properties of Common Fungi
Acremonium sp.: Commonly known as contaminants,
some species occasionally are known to produce mycetomas, corneal
infections, and nail infections. It is generally found in the soil
and on plant matter, and can be a parasite of other fungi.
Afternaria sp.: Most species are
commonly considered contaminants. Most species only aus~" is~
ease in plants, but some are occasionally associated with infection
Some species of this genus produce mycotoxins. They are also linked
to hypersensitivity and extrinsic asthma.
sp.: This genus is rarely found in the indoor
environment and essentially never found airborne. They
do, like Stachybotrys sp., produce a mycotoxin that is
considered to be potentially dangerous to humans. Symptoms
of exposure to Memnoniella sp. mycotoxins might include
cough, irritation of eyes, skin, and respiratory tract,
headache, fatigue, and possibly bleeding from the nose.
Like their cousin, Stachybotrys sp., significant amounts
of water in contact with cellulose based materials are
an ideal growth condition for these organisms.
Ascospores: Very common with many different genera.
While some Ascospores sporulate (grow) in culture, many are parasitic
plant pathogens and sporulate only on living host plants.
Asper~lllus sp.: Aspergillus species
is a common fungus that has worldwide distribution and vary greatly
genus. Some species may cause lesions on or in any part of the
body. Most are not normally pathogenic to humans, but some produce
mycotoxins that can be fatal if ingested and many species may be
associated with allergic type reactions. Some species of this fungus
can grow at 37°C and, of all the mycotic diseases (diseases
initiated by fungal infections), organisms from this genus encompass
the broadest range of pathogenic mechanisms. These organisms are
capable of not only of causing disseminated infection, as seen
in immunosuppressed patients, but also of causing a whole host
of other types of infectious including invasive lung infection.
pulm~vca is koratnsis sinendocarditis_and central nervous system
infection. Most often, immunosuppressed patients acquire a primary
pulmonary infection that disseminates rapidly and causes infection
in virtually every organ.
Aureobasidium sp.: Commonly considered contaminants
found in many varied habitats.
Basidiobolus sp.: Etiologic agent of Entomophthoromycosis
basidiobelae (subcutaneous Zygomycosis), a chronic, inflammatory,
lesion forming disease generally restricted to the limbs, chest,
Basidiospores: Very common with
many different genera, commonly called mushrooms, Most Basidiomyceres
fruit on laboratory media and form sterile mycelia. Growth indoors
are usually associated with "dry rot" which destroy the
structural wood of buildings. Many genera are known to be allergens
and few may cause rare opportunistic infections.
Beauveria sp.: Commonly considered contaminants,
these are pathogens in some animals and insects, but rarely humans.
Bipolaris sp.: Most species are commonly considered
contaminants. Some occasionally infect the eye, bones, and aorta
and some species have been associated with allergic reactions.
Blastamycas SP.: Some species can cause Blastomycosis,
a chronic infection characterized by pus forming and possibly chronic
lesions in any part of the body. It usually begins in the lungs and
disseminates to the skin and bones.
Batrytis sp.: Commonly considered contaminants.
They usually live in dead or dying plants and can cause disease
in living plants.
Candida sp.: This genus consists of yeast like
fungi that are mostly opportunistic pathogens. Some are known to
cause candidiasis, an infection that can manifest itself as rash,
intertrigo, yeas t infection, and thrush.
Chaetomium sp.: This genus requires
significant amounts of water in contact with cellulose based
species have been associated with a rare form of cerebral fungal
infection in immunocompromised individuals. In addition, most of
the Chaetornium species produce mycotoxins. This species should
be considered a potential emerging and aggressive opportunistic
pathogen due to its thermophilic (growth at 37 ° C) and neurotropic
(central nervous system) nature. However, there is little research
on the effects of this species on the immune systems of immunocompetent
Chrysnsporium sp.: Commonly considered contaminants,
some species can cause disease in humans on rare occasions.
Cladasporium sp.: These organisms are consistently
found in indoor environments. As one of the most common outdoor
fungi, it is often associated with human activity and routes of
entry into a facility (doors, windows, air handlers, etc.). Under
most growth conditions, this group of organisms can produce significant
odors, stains, and deterioration. It is almost always associated
with some sort of natural material such as wood, natural textiles,
paper or similar materials. It is not normally linked to human
health concerns. However, interior growth of this fungus indicates
water intrusion and a potential indoor air quality problem.
Coccidivides sp.: Some species cause Coccidioidmycosis,
a disease that starts with the symptoms of a mild cold, then, after
a brief remission, returns with a constant low grade fever and
possible weight loss.
Cryptococcus sp: This genus of yeast like fungi
is generally nonpathogenic except in cases of severely immunosuppressed
individuals. However, C. neoformans can cause the infection of
the lungs and brain known as cryptococcosis. This species is often
found in pigeon droppings.
Curvularia sp.: Commonly considered contaminants.
They can cause corneal and other opportunistic infections and may
Drechslera sp.: Commonly considered contaminants.
They can cause corneal and other opportunistic infections.
Epicoccum sp.: Commonly considered contaminants in
dead plant material. but has been found in the air.
Fusurium sp: Fusartum species have been commonly
considered contaminants, but known to be relatively frequent agent
of fungal eye infection. In addition, most of these species produce
mycotoxins similar to Stachybotrys species and can cause other
infections in severely debilitated hosts.
Histoplasma sp: Some species cause I listoplasmosis.
The effects of this disease range from benign pulmonary disease
to chronic, progressive, and fatal infection in susceptible individuals.
Microsporum sp.: Causes ringworm, mostly in the
scalp, but on other parts of the body as well. It is more common
in animals than humans, and can be transmitted to humans from animals.
Myxomycetes: Common species that have both dry
and wet spores. Initial growth phase requires high moisture content.
Myxomycetes do not grow on general fungal media and are not considered
true fungi. Myxomycetes cannot be distinguished from smuts.
Mucor sp.: It is known as a contaminant, but
can occasionally cause Zygomycosis (see Rhtzopus sp.).
Paecflomyces sp.: These are usually considered
contaminants, but are occasionally reported in association with
disease, especially of the cornea.
Paracoccidiaides sp.: Some species cause Paracoccidioidomycosis,
a chronic lesionforming disease that characteristically begins
in the lungs and spreading to the skin and other internal organs.
Penicillium sp.: The genus Penicillium species
have been associated with allergic type reactions and, in our experience,
have been found in virtually all cases involving problemscausing
buildings. Evidence is increasing which points to a relationship
between the inhalation of the spores from this organism and asthma.
In addition, many of species have been shown to induce allergic
Penicilliuml/.Aspergfllus like spores:
Term used for identifying spores obtained in a spore trap
that are similar (small,
circular spores) to perticillium and/or Aspergillus spores. However,
a large number of fungi produce small, circular spores and it is difficult
to differentiate these types of spores.
Peronarpora sp.: A downy mildew found commonly
in the environment.
Phoma sp.: Commonly considered contaminants on
plants and soil. Some cause infections on rare occasions.
Rhizomyces sp.: Grow on dead grass in pastures.
Can cause facial eczema in ruminants.
Rhizomucor sp.: This species is known as a contaminant,
but occasionally causes Zygomycosis (see Rhizopus sp.).
Rhiznpus sp.: Although a common contaminant,
some species have been found to be responsible for Zygomycosis,
a disease that is most often systemic, with invasion of the central
nervous system, arterial blood vessels, lungs, and subcutaneous
Rhodotorula sp: These yeasts are commonly known
as contaminants. Their presence in the tettninal stages of debilitating
diseases such as leukemia and carcinoma may indicate ' an ability
to colonize particularly susceptible individuals.
Smuts: Common species and are members of the
Basidiomycetes Smuts do not usually grow indoors and require a
living plant host for sporulation (growth) and will not sponrlate
on laboratory media. Smut spores cannot be easily distinguished
Sporotrichum sp.: Soil borne fungi that are commonly
Stachybotrys sp.: The genus Stachybotrys species,
of which Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as S. atra) is the
most common, is capable of producing mycotoxins, which can affect
occupants producing both mucosal andneurological symptoms. Acute
exposure can cause severe symptoms. All species produce mycotoxins
that may be lethal to animals if eaten. The presence of Stachybotrys
sp. is often overlooked due to the fact that it is difficult to
isolate from the air. However, Stachybotrys sp. needs a substantial
amount of water and a suitable nutrient substrate (cellulose) to
initiate growth. Most often Stachybatrys sp. is only isolated from
bulk and/or swab and tape surface samples where conditions are
favorable for growth. It is possible that Stachybotrys sp. could
exist in other locations that have been subjected to persistent
Sterile Mycelia: These are unidentifiable parts
of fungi that do not have spores, or do not reproduce in test samples.
This may be induced by the organism's inability to utilize the
laboratory media. An example would be that many Basidiomycetes
produce sterile mycelia on laboratory media.