PARSIFAL Study Group: Göran Pershagen, Tobias Alfvén, Johan Alm, Anna Bergström, Lars Engstrand, Helen Flöistrup, Stina Gustafsson, Marianne van Hage-Hamsten, Eva Hallner, Juha Kere, André Lauber, Gunnar Lilja, Fredrik Nyberg, Annika Scheynius, Helena Svensson, Jackie Swartz, Magnus Wickman, Anki Wigh, Annika Zettergren, Anne-Charlotte Öhman-Johansson (Sweden); Charlotte Braun-Fahrländer, Karin Michels, Marco Waser, Felix Sennhauser, Roger Lauener, Johannes Wildhaber (Switzerland); Bert Brunekreef, Dieneke Schram, Gert Doekes, Mirian Boeve, Jeroen Douwes, Machteld Huber, Mirjam Matze (the Netherlands); Erika von Mutius, David Carr, Michael Kabesch, Rob van Strien, Anne Zutavern, Marcus Benz, Jörg Budde (Germany); Josef Riedler, Waltraud Eder, Ellen Üblagger, Gerti Moser, Mynda Schreuer (Austria).
Bacterial and fungal components in house dust of farm children, Rudolf Steiner school children and reference children – the PARSIFAL Study
Article first published online: 6 APR 2005
Volume 60, Issue 5, pages 611–618, May 2005
How to Cite
Schram, D., Doekes, G., Boeve, M., Douwes, J., Riedler, J., Üblagger, E., von Mutius, E., Budde, J., Pershagen, G., Nyberg, F., Alm, J., Braun-Fahrländer, C., Waser, M., Brunekreef, B. and on behalf of the PARSIFAL Study Group (2005), Bacterial and fungal components in house dust of farm children, Rudolf Steiner school children and reference children – the PARSIFAL Study. Allergy, 60: 611–618. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2005.00748.x
- Issue published online: 6 APR 2005
- Article first published online: 6 APR 2005
- Accepted for publication 18 August 2004
- fungal extracellular polysaccharides;
- house dust;
- microbial exposure
Background: Growing up on a farm and an anthroposophic lifestyle are associated with a lower prevalence of allergic diseases in childhood. It has been suggested that the enhanced exposure to endotoxin is an important protective factor of farm environments. Little is known about exposure to other microbial components on farms and exposure in anthroposophic families.
Objective: To assess the levels and determinants of bacterial endotoxin, mould β(1,3)-glucans and fungal extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) in house dust of farm children, Steiner school children and reference children.
Methods: Mattress and living room dust was collected in the homes of 229 farm children, 122 Steiner children and 60 and 67 of their respective reference children in five European countries. Stable dust was collected as well. All samples were analysed in one central laboratory. Determinants were assessed by questionnaire.
Results: Levels of endotoxin, EPS and glucans per gram of house dust in farm homes were 1.2- to 3.2-fold higher than levels in reference homes. For Steiner children, 1.1- to 1.6-fold higher levels were observed compared with their reference children. These differences were consistently found across countries, although mean levels varied considerably. Differences between groups and between countries were also significant after adjustment for home and family characteristics.
Conclusion: Farm children are not only consistently exposed to higher levels of endotoxin, but also to higher levels of mould components. Steiner school children may also be exposed to higher levels of microbial agents, but differences with reference children are much less pronounced than for farm children. Further analyses are, however, required to assess the association between exposure to these various microbial agents and allergic and airway diseases in the PARSIFAL population.