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Issue 5, 2002
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Volatile metabolites from microorganisms grown on humid building materials and synthetic media

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Growth of different microorganisms is often related to dampness in buildings. Both fungi and bacteria produce complicated mixtures of volatile organic compounds that include hydrocarbons, alcohols, ketones, sulfur- and nitrogen-containing compounds etc. Microbially produced substances are one possible explanation of odour problems and negative health effects in buildings affected by microbial growth. A mixture of five fungi, Aspergillus versicolor, Fusarium culmorum, Penicillium chrysogenum, Ulocladium botrytis and Wallemia sebi were grown on three different humid building materials (pinewood, particle board and gypsum board) and on one synthetic medium. Six different sampling methods were used, to be able to collect both non-reactive volatile organic compounds and reactive compounds such as volatile amines, aldehydes and carboxylic acids. Analysis was performed using gas chromatography, high-performance liquid chromatography and ion chromatography, mass spectrometry was used for identification of compounds. The main microbially produced metabolites found on pinewood were ketones (e.g. 2-heptanone) and alcohols (e.g. 2-methyl-1-propanol). Some of these compounds were also found on particle board, gypsum board and the synthetic medium, but there were more differences than similarities between the materials. For example, dimethoxymethane and 1,3,5-trioxepane and some nitrogen containing compounds were found only on particle board. The metabolite production on gypsum board was very low, although some terpenes (e.g. 3-carene) could be identified as fungal metabolites. On all materials, except gypsum board, the emission of aldehydes decreased during microbial growth. No low molecular weight carboxylic acids were identified.

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Article information

13 Mar 2002
09 Jul 2002
First published
16 Aug 2002

J. Environ. Monit., 2002,4, 667-672
Article type

Volatile metabolites from microorganisms grown on humid building materials and synthetic media

A. Claeson, J. Levin, G. Blomquist and A. Sunesson, J. Environ. Monit., 2002, 4, 667
DOI: 10.1039/B202571J

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