In the management of solid waste, pollutants over a wide range are released with different routes of exposure for workers. The potential for synergism among the pollutants raises concerns about potential adverse health effects, and there are still many uncertainties involved in exposure assessment.
In this study , molecular real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used to assess the presence of three potential pathogenic/toxigenic fungal species: Aspergillus flavus, A. fumigatus, and Stachybotrys chartarum from air samples collected with a Coriolis µ in a waste-sorting plant. These results were compared with the cultivable fungal air contamination obtained by conventional method (culture-based).
Penicillium sp. were the most common species found at all plant locations by conventional methodology. Pathogenic/toxigenic species (A. fumigatus and S. chartarum) were detected at two different workstations by RT-PCR but not by culture-based techniques (Table 1).
Our results illustrated the advantage of combining both conventional and molecular methodologies in fungal exposure assessment.
Together with microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC) analyses in indoor air, data obtained allow for a more precise evaluation of potential health risks associated with bioaerosol exposure. Consequently, with this knowledge, strategies may be developed for effective protection of the workers.