Indoor Fungi: Companions and Contaminants
Nevalainen, A., Täubel, M. and Hyvärinen, A. (2015). Indoor fungi: companions and contaminants. Indoor Air. doi: 10.1111/ina.12182. Published ahead of schedule: 20th January.
Abstract: This review discusses the role of fungi and fungal products in indoor environments, especially as agents of human exposure. Fungi are present everywhere, and knowledge for indoor environments is extensive on their occurrence and ecology, concentrations, and determinants. Problems of dampness and mold have dominated the discussion on indoor fungi. However, the role of fungi in human health is still not well understood. In this review, we take a look back to integrate what cultivation-based research has taught us alongside more recent work with cultivation-independent techniques. We attempt to summarize what is known today and to point out where more data is needed for risk assessment associated with indoor fungal exposures. New data have demonstrated qualitative and quantitative richness of fungal material inside and outside buildings. Research on mycotoxins shows that just as microbes are everywhere in our indoor environments, so too are their metabolic products. Assessment of fungal exposures is notoriously challenging due to the numerous factors that contribute to the variation of fungal concentrations in indoor environments. We also may have to acknowledge and incorporate into our understanding the complexity of interactions between multiple biological agents in assessing their effects on human health and well-being.