Comparison of background levels of culturable fungal spore concentrations in indoor and outdoor air in southeastern Austria

D. Haas*, J. Habib, J. Luxner, H. Galler, G. Zarfel, R. Schlacher, H. Friedl, F. F. Reinthaler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background concentrations of airborne fungi are indispensable criteria for an assessment of fungal concentrations indoors and in the ambient air. The goal of this study was to define the natural background values of culturable fungal spore concentrations as reference values for the assessment of moldy buildings. The concentrations of culturable fungi were determined outdoors as well as indoors in 185 dwellings without visible mold, obvious moisture problems or musty odor. Samples were collected using the MAS-100® microbiological air sampler. The study shows a characteristic seasonal influence on the background levels of Cladosporium, Penicillium and Aspergillus. Cladosporium sp. had a strong outdoor presence, whereas Aspergillus sp. and Penicillium sp. were typical indoor fungi. For the region of Styria, the median outdoor concentrations are between 100 and 940 cfu/m3 for culturable xerophilic fungi in the course of the year. Indoors, median background levels are between 180 and 420 cfu/m3 for xerophilic fungi. The I/O ratios of the airborne fungal spore concentrations were between 0.2 and 2.0. For the assessment of indoor and outdoor air samples the dominant genera Cladosporium, Penicillium and Aspergillus should receive special consideration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)640-647
Number of pages8
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Airborne culturable fungi
  • Background values
  • Indoor air
  • Outdoor air

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science

Fields of Expertise

  • Sonstiges

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Application

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