Impacts of Asian dust events on atmospheric fungal communities

Eun Mi Jeon, Yong Pyo Kim, Kweon Jeong, Ik Soo Kim, Suk Won Eom, Young Zoo Choi, Jong Ok Ka

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17 Scopus citations


The composition of atmospheric fungi in Seoul during Asian dust events were assessed by culturing and by molecular methods such as mold specific quantitative PCR (MSQPCR) and internal transcribed spacer cloning (ITS cloning). Culturable fungal concentrations in the air were monitored from May 2008 to July 2011 and 3 pairs of ITS clone libraries, one during Asian dust (AD) day and the other during the adjacent non Asian dust (NAD) day for each pair, were constructed after direct DNA extraction from total suspended particles (TSP) samples. In addition, six aeroallergenic fungi in the atmosphere were also assessed by MSQPCR from October, 2009 to November, 2011. The levels of the airborne culturable fungal concentrations during AD days was significantly higher than that of NAD days (P<0.005). In addition, the correlation of culturable fungal concentrations with particulate matters equal to or less than 10μm in aerodynamic diameter (PM10) concentrations was observed to be high (0.775) for the AD days while correlation coefficients of PM10 as well as other particulate parameters with airborne fungal concentrations were significantly negative for the NAD days during intensive monitoring periods (May to June, 2008). It was found that during AD days several airborne allergenic fungal levels measured with MSQPCR increased up to 5-12 times depending on the species. Comparison of AD vs. NAD clones showed significant differences (P<0.05) in all three cases using libshuff. In addition, high proportions of uncultured soil fungus isolated from semi-arid regions were observed only in AD clone libraries. Thus, it was concluded that AD impacts not only airborne fungal concentrations but also fungal communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-50
Number of pages12
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was partly supported by the grants for environmental disease research from the Seoul Metropolitan Government , Republic of Korea, 12-65-010 . The authors thank Dr. Han-Kyu Seo of Bio-Medical Science Co. LTD for many helpful suggestions on the use of the TaqMan system and the design of primers. YP Kim was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant (No. 2011-0016297 ).


  • Airborne culturable fungal concentration
  • Allergenic fungi
  • Asian dust events
  • ITS clone library


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