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General Information about Aspergillus

 

200+ species. Very common worldwide, A. fumigatus is one of most common species found.  One of the most commonly isolated filamentous fungi involving invasive infections.

Aspergillus Mold

Microscopic View Aspergillus Mold

Where would I normally find this type of mold?

Ubiquitous, Cosmopolitan.

What are some of this molds characteristics?

Grows well on a variety of different organic materials

Where does aspergillus grow outside?

Soil, plant debris, compost piles, stored grain

Where does aspergillus grow inside?

Common on many different substrates.  Water needs vary greatly from species to species.

Is aspergillus considered a “black mold”?

The term black mold (also “toxic black mold”) is not scientific but is widely used by the media to usually reference Stachybotrys molds.

Health Concerns with aspergillus

Is aspergillus a potential allergen?

Some of people may experience hay fever, asthma, Humidifier lung, Malt worker’s lung, Compost lung, Wood trimmer’s disease, Straw hypersensitivity, Farmer’s lung, Oat grain hypersensitivity.

Other: A. fumigatus: allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA), allergic fungal sinusitis.)

Does aspergillus present any unique human risks? (as pathogen, opportunist or contaminant)*

Can affect respiratory system, skin, ear, cornea.  Can be invasive or disseminated.  Presents greatest risk to immunosuppressed individuals.  Could lead to onychomycosis, sinusitis, cerebral aspergillosis, meningitis, endocarditis, myocarditis, pulmonary aspergillosis, osteomyelitis, otomycosis, endophthalmitis, cutaneous aspergillosis, hepatosplenic aspergillosis, as well as Aspergillus fungemia, and disseminated aspergillosis.

Many species grow at 37°C (body temperature)

Can aspergillus produce toxins?**

A. flavus: aflatoxin (carcinogen) B1 & B2, cyclopiazonic acid, kojic acid

A. fumigatus: ergot alkaloids, fumigaclavines, gliotoxin, fumigatoxin, fumigillin, fumitremorgens, helvolic acid, tryptoquivaline tremorgens, verruculogen.

A. niger: malformin C, oxalic acid.

A. ustus: austocystins.

A. versicolor: aspercolorin, averufin, cyclopiazonic acid, sterigmatocystin, versicolorin.

Identification of aspergillus

Can aspergillus be identified via Air Sampling?

Commonly found, one of the most prevalent types captured.

Can it be identified via Direct Sampling?

What are some of its industrial uses?

Many uses in food production and medical industry.  A. oryzae is used to ferment soybeans to soy sauce. A. terreus produces mevinolin which is able to reduce blood cholesterol; A. niger is used in the bread and beer making industries (enzyme production) and also is able to decompose plastic. A. niger and A. ochraceus are used in cortisone production.

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