Erica Bloom from the Division of Medical Microbiology at Lund University in Sweden has contributed to research in this field by analyzing dust and materials samples from buildings damaged by mould. Virtually all of the samples contained toxins from mould.
"Previously it was claimed that the occurrence of mould does not necessarily mean that there are toxins present. But they are! On the contrary, we can assume that wherever there is visible mould, there are also mould toxins," says Erica Bloom.
And toxins produced by mould are more potent than was previously thought. It has now been shown, for instance, that mould toxins (mycotoxins) not only directly kill cells but can also affect immune cells in a way that increases the risk of allergies. Even incredibly tiny amounts of these toxins can do this, as little as a few picograms (a picogram is one millionth of a millionth of a gram).
New research also shows that mould releases extremely small particles that remain suspended in the air, and can get into our lungs much more easily than the spores that have previously been focused on. This can increase exposure to mould and mycotoxins hundreds of times over compared with previous calculations. And mycotoxins have further been shown in laboratory studies to have a synergistic effect: the effect of two toxins is not merely 1 + 1 but much greater.
Using methods from analytical chemistry, Erica Bloom analyzed dust sample and samples from construction materials such as molding, drywall, and wallpaper from buildings damaged by mould. She acquired nearly all of the samples from professional damage assessors.
"We looked at 6-7 different mycotoxins and found them in a majority of the samples. And since there are at least 400 sorts of mycotoxins, what we have seen is probably just the tip of the iceberg," she says.
Mould in buildings is a phenomenon that has been known since the times of the Old Testament. In Leviticus mention is made of spots that constitute "a fretting leprosy in the house," and should be scraped off and thrown away "in some unclean place."
"Actually, we haven't made all that much progress today," maintains Erica Bloom. "We know that people are sickened by buildings damaged by moisture, but whether this is primarily caused by mycotoxins, bacteria, or gases given off by the moist building materials, this we don't know exactly. We should therefore observe the principle of caution and renovate the building as soon as a moisture problem or mould is found."
After she defends her thesis on December 6, Erica Bloom will start working with indoor-environment issues at the IVL, the Swedish Environmental Research Institute. Her thesis director, Lennart Larsson, is continuing his research with the Lund team, for example participating in a major EU project on indoor environments in schools and their possible connections to asthma and allergies.
Erica Bloom can be reached at phone: +46 (0)46-173289; Erica.Bloom@med.lu.se.
Pressofficer Ingela Björck; email@example.com; +46-46 222 76 46
Ingela Björck | idw
Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine