Quantitative PCR analysis of house dust can reveal abnormal mold conditions
Indoor mold concentrations were measured in the dust of moldy homes (MH) and reference homes (RH) by quantitative PCR (QPCR) assays for 82 species or related groups of species (assay groups). About 70% of the species and groups were never or only rarely detected. The ratios (MH geometric mean ∶ RH geometric mean) for 6 commonly detected species (Aspergillus ochraceus, A. penicillioides, A. unguis, A. versicolor, Eurotium group, and Cladosporium sphaerospermum) were >1 (Group I). Logistic regression analysis of the sum of the logs of the concentrations of Group I species resulted in a 95% probability for separating MH from RH. These results suggest that it may be possible to evaluate whether a home has an abnormal mold condition by quantifying a limited number of mold species in a dust sample. Also, four common species of Aspergillus were quantified by standard culturing procedures and their concentrations compared to QPCR results. Culturing underestimated the concentrations of these four species by 2 to 3 orders of magnitude compared to QPCR.