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New technique for detecting mold contamination in homes and other buildings

Date:
June 6, 2012
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
With mold contamination of homes an ongoing concern – and a special threat to the 2.5 million foreclosed houses in the US, shuttered with little ventilation – scientists are reporting a new method to detect and identify low levels of airborne mold. The report describes a simple, fast method that could provide an early indication of potential contamination.

With mold contamination of homes an ongoing concern -- and a special threat to the 2.5 million foreclosed houses in the U.S., shuttered with little ventilation -- scientists are reporting a new method to detect and identify low levels of airborne mold.

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The report, which describes a simple, fast method that could provide an early indication of potential contamination, appears in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Sutapa Ghosal and colleagues indicate that mold contamination of homes, especially after water damage from storms and floods, is an ongoing concern. Although most molds are harmless, scientists have linked some with health risks to humans. Traditional methods for detecting mold contamination involve identifying the spores that mold release into the air. Those tests are labor- and time-intensive, often requiring that the mold grow in the laboratory. Moreover, not every mold can grow under these conditions. That's why the researchers have sought to develop a fast and easy method that can reliably detect and identify low levels of airborne mold -- even single spores.

The scientists describe a new method, which involves collecting air samples on a piece of commercially available aluminum foil, and then analyzing the spores with a technique called Raman microspectroscopy (RMS). They used the method to detect and identify single spores from seven common types of mold. The team says that use of the new test could help with many problems in the public health, forensics sciences and environmental fields.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sutapa Ghosal, Janet M. Macher, Kadra Ahmed. Raman Microspectroscopy-Based Identification of Individual Fungal Spores as Potential Indicators of Indoor Contamination and Moisture-Related Building Damage. Environmental Science & Technology, 2012; 120508140454005 DOI: 10.1021/es203782j

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "New technique for detecting mold contamination in homes and other buildings." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606132418.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2012, June 6). New technique for detecting mold contamination in homes and other buildings. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606132418.htm
American Chemical Society. "New technique for detecting mold contamination in homes and other buildings." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606132418.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

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