Volumetric Aerobiological Survey of Conidial Fungi in the North-East Netherlands

II. Comparison of Aerobiological Data and Skin Tests with Mould Extracts in an Asthmatic Population


F. Beaumont, Dept. of Pulmonology, Clinic of Internal Medicine, State University Hospital, Oostersingel 59, 9731 EZ Groningen, The Netherlands


A study was undertaken to see whether the principal airborne fungi in the North-East Netherlands were also found to be the most reactive in skin testing. Atmospheric samples were taken weekly with the Andersen sampler, from April 1981, up to and including, June 1983, At the same time skin tests of 833 patients referred to the outpatient Departments of Pulmonology and Allergology, because of recurrent bronchial obstructive complaints and a suspected allergy, were studied for strongly positive skin reactivity to fungi. 4.6% of the patients reacted with a wheal of 10 mm diameter or more to one or more of the tested fungi. Almost three-quarters of the airborne fungal “flora” was composed of seven genera, namely (in order of occurrence); 1) Cladosporium (42,6 %), 2) Botrytis (8.6 %), 3) Yeasts (7 %), 4) Penicillium (5.8%), 5) Basidiomycetes (5.7%), 6) Aspergillus (3.7%), and 7) Altenaria (0.9%), In skin-testing, however, a different order of occurrence existed; namely: 1) Beauveria (6.8%), 2) Botrytis (6.1%), 3) Aspergillus (4.7%), 4) Mucor (3.8%), 5) Epicoccum (3%), 6) Cladosporium (2.3%), and 7) Altenaria (1.1%), It is concluded that the most prevailing airborne moulds are not necessarily the most potent allergens, at least in skin testing. Aspergillus and Botrytis showed a high sensitization rate, while Cladosporium and Altenaria did not. Botrytis deserves further study because of its frequent airborne occurrence and marked allergenic properties.