Molecular characterization of airborne fungi in caves of the Mogao Grottoes, Dunhuang, China


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August 2011


In this study, we analyzed air samples collected from several sites within the Mogao Grottoes, Dunhuang, China. The samples were collected each month from September 2008 to August 2009 from an open cave (OC), a semi-open cave (SC), a closed cave (CC), and the entrance (EN) of the Mogao Grottoes. Sampling was carried out using a six-stage Andersen FA-I sampler; then samples were cultured and fungal isolates were identified by partial sequencing of their internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region. Eleven different fungal genera were found, and the most prevalent was Cladosporium, followed by Fusarium, Penicillium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus. The fungal community composition varied among the four sites. Fungal community structure was significantly related to site (r = −0.293, p = 0.039) and to time of year (r = −0.523, p = 0.000). The concentrations and abundance of airborne fungi varied greatly throughout the year at the four sampling sites. Meteorological parameters (e.g., temperature, relative humidity) and the number of visitors also influenced both abundance and community structure of airborne fungi in the Mogao Grottoes.


Aerobiology, Molecular Biology, Biodeterioration, Culturable Fungi, Mogao Grottoes

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International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation, Vol. 65, no. 5 (2011-08-01).