Fungal and actinomycete spore aerosols measured at different humidities with an aerodynamic particle sizer


Bannerleigh House, Bannerleigh Road, Leigh Woods, Bristol BS8 3PF, UK.


T.M. MADELIN AND H.E. JOHNSON. 1992. An aerodynamic particle sizer (APS) that uses laser Doppler velocimetry was used to determine aerodynamic diameters of spores of fungal and thermophilic actinomycete species common in mouldy hay, acrosolized at different humidities and temperatures. Results were compared with those obtained from inertial impaction in a cascade impactor. The APS gave slightly smaller measurements than the cascade impactor. Both methods gave aerodynamic diameters generally slightly smaller than the average spore dimensions observed on cascade impactor slides with a microscope. The latter measurements were less than axial dimensions given in the literature. Brief passage of spores through air at 95% relative humidity (RH) and 38°C, compared with 40% RH and 20°C, caused an immediate increase in their aerodynamic diameter and the breaking of chains of spores. Cultures maintained at 75% RH and aerosolized at 98% RH similarly produced larger spore particles than those passed through dry air. These findings have implications for mould-induced asthma and allergic alveolitis since they relate to physical behaviour of airborne spores and particle deposition sites in the lung.