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A study of fungi in air in selected areas of Visakhapatnam city, India

Studies on air borne fungi have received much attention due to increase in asthma and allergic rhinitis. It is necessary to have the knowledge of filamentous fungi present in air in a region for proper diagnosis and specific treatment towards allergic symptoms induced by inhaled allergens. In this study, the variability of air borne fungi was identified and assessed on a monthly basis in fruit juice locations of five different areas of Visakhapatnam. In these selected five areas more people travel regularly and are exposed to air. In the present study the airborne fungi in the selected five areas are high and can cause allergic symptoms. The study was carried out for 24 months (November 2009-October 2011) by means of gravity settling method through Petri plate using Rose Bengal Agar medium. In this study seasonal variation among the fungi was observed. A total of 3840 samples were collected. Thirty fungal species were identified from these sampling sites. The most dominating species were Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Mucor, Rhizopus and Penicillium. The spores of Alternaria, Aspergillus and Cladosporium are prone to causing allergies and in the present study area these were found at high alarming rate. The fungi ranged from 1.3x102 to 4.3x106. The results of the present study reveal the significance of air as a major source of microbial contamination in four areas and it is necessary to encourage the hygienic conditions in and surrounding of the four areas to maintain safety of the local consumers.

Author(s): M. Kiranmai Reddy, P. Sarita and T. Srinivas

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