Agricultural occupations associated with animal breeding and the processing of animal materials in confinement systems could potentially lead to bioaerosol exposures. Moulds and mycotoxins could be constituents of bioaerosols and should be studied because of their possible involvement in respiratory diseases and cancers. In order to characterize the fungal contamination of the indoor air in a dairy barn, bioaerosols were collected during 20 days in a cattle farm located in Normandy (France). Mycobiota, mycotoxins and the mutagenicity of bioaerosols were studied. The toxigenic ability of Aspergillus flavus group and Aspergillus fumigatus isolates was also evaluated in vitro. The prevalent airborne moulds were from the following potentially toxigenic species: Aspergillus flavus group, Aspergillus fumigatus, Penicillium chrysogenum, Stachybotrys chartarum, and the allergenic species Ulocladium chartarum, Cladosporium cladosporioides. In comparison with harvesting, grain handling or broiler breeding, the concentrations of viable moulds were lower in the cattle shed. Seasonal variations in levels of several species were also observed. This study revealed that aflatoxins were detected in bioaerosols and, for the first time, showed that farmers are possibly exposed to Stachybotrys chartarum during routine barn work. Moreover, the finding of mutagenicity from bioaerosols needs further investigations on bioaerosol composition.
PMID 22462447 - click here to show this article in PubMed