Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Vast numbers of spores of the thermophilic actinomycetesExcellospora flexuosa,Thermomonospora alba,T. curvata andT. fusca were collected from the air in fermentation tunnels during the spawning of mushroom compost, i.e. over 109 CFU m−3 of air. Five different genera of fungi, namely,Aspergillus,Aureobasidium,Cladosporium,Penicillium andScytalidium, were found at only 103 CFU m−3 of air.Agaricus bisporus, used for spawning, was absent. Sera of 10 mushroom growers affected by Mushroom Worker's Lung (MWL) were tested by a qualitative dot-ELISA for antibodies against the spores of these micro-organisms. All 10 were positive for one or more of the actinomycetesE. flexuosa,T. alba,T. curvata andT. fusca. No antibodies were found againstStreptomyces thermovulgaris,Thermoactinomyces vulgaris andT. sacchari nor against the fungiAspergillus fumigatus,Penicillium brevicompactum,P. chrysogenum,Scytalidium thermophilum andTrichoderma viride. Sera of 11 of 14 workers engaged in routine spawning of compost in tunnels reacted positively with 1 or more of the actinomycetes. Their10log serum titres increased with the duration of employment to an upper limit of 2.5. The sera of 19 non-exposed individuals were negative. Because high numbers of spores ofE. flexuosa,T. alba,T. curvata andT. fusca were present in the air that was used for successful inhalation provocation of mushroom workers with MWL and because of the elevated serum titres of these workers, we presume these organisms to contribute in the occurrence of MWL.
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