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Carbon content of common airborne fungal species and fungal contribution to aerosol organic carbon in a subtropical city

Authors Cheng, Jessica Y.W. HKUST affiliated (currently or previously)
Chan, Chak Keung View this author's profile
Lee, C.T.
Lau, Arthur P.S. HKUST affiliated (currently or previously)
Issue Date 2009
Source Atmospheric environment , v. 43, (17), 2009, JUN, p. 2781-2787
Summary Interest in the role and contribution of fungi to atmospheric aerosols and processes grows in the past decade. Substantial data or information such as fungal mass or carbon loading to ambient aerosols is however still lacking. This study aimed to quantify the specific organic carbon content (OC per spore) of eleven fungal species commonly found airborne in the subtropics, and estimated their contribution to organic carbon in aerosols. The specific OC contents showed a size-dependent relationship (r = 0.64, p < 0.05) and ranged from 3.6 to 201.0 pg carbon per spore or yeast cell, giving an average of 6.0 pg carbon per spore (RSD 51\%) for spore or cell size less than 10 mu m. In accounting for natural variations in the composition and abundance of fungal population, weighted-average carbon content for field samples was adopted using the laboratory determined specific OC values. An average of 5.97 pg carbon per spore (RSD 3.8\%) was enumerated from 28 field samples collected at the university campus. The mean fungal OC concentration was 3.7, 6.0 and 9.7 ng m(-3) in PM2.5, PM2.5-10 and PM10, respectively. These corresponded to 0.1\%, 1.2\% and 0.2\% of the total OC in PM2.5, PM2.5-10 and PM10, respectively. In the study period, rain provided periods with low total OC but high fungal prevalence and fungi contributed 7-32\% OC in PM2.5-10 or 2.4-7.1\% OC in PM10. More extensive studies are deserved to better understand the spatial-, temporal- and episodic dependency on the fungal OC contribution to the atmospheric aerosols. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
ISSN 1352-2310
Rights Atmospheric Environment © Copyright (2009) Elsevier. The Journal's web site is located at
Language English
Format Article
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