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Status of airborne spores and pollen in a coir factory in Kerala, India  [2007]

Nayar, T. S. Mohan, Thripthi Krishna Jothish, P. S.

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The prevalence of airborne fungal spores and pollen grains in the indoor and outdoor environments of a coir factory in Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala state, India was studied using the Burkard Personal Sampler and the Andersen 2-stage Sampler for 2 years (September 1997 to August 1999). The concentration of pollen grains was remarkably lower than that of fungal spores (ratio of 1:28). There was no large difference in the concentrations and types of fungal spores between the indoor and outdoor environments, with 26 spore types found to be present indoors and 27 types outdoors; of these, 22 were common to both the environments. Aspergillus/Penicillium, Cladosporium, 'other basidiospores' and ascospores were the dominant spore types. The total spore concentration was highest in February and lowest in September, and it was significantly higher in 1998-1999 than in 1997-1998. Twenty viable colony-forming types were isolated from inside the coir factory. The most dominant viable fungi isolated were Penicillium citrinum, Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus niger. The total pollen concentration was higher in the outdoor environment of the coir factory than indoors, with 15 and 17 pollen types, respectively. Grass and Cocos nucifera pollen types were dominant. The dominant spore and pollen types trapped in the two environments of the coir factory are reportedly allergenic and, consequently, workers are at risk of catching respiratory/allergic diseases.