Beta(1-->3)-glucan in house dust of German homes: housing characteristics, occupant behavior, and relations with endotoxins, allergens, and molds

Environ Health Perspect. 2001 Feb;109(2):139-44. doi: 10.1289/ehp.01109139.


beta(1-->3)-Glucans are potent proinflammatory agents that have been suggested to play a role in indoor-related respiratory health effects. The aim of this study was to assess whether beta(1-->3)-glucan concentrations in house dust are correlated with levels of endotoxins, allergens, and culturable mold spore counts in house dust. Further, the associations of beta(1-->3)-glucan with housing characteristics and occupant behavior were assessed. beta(1-->3)-Glucan was measured in settled house dust from living room floors of 395 homes of two German cities, Erfurt and Hamburg, with a specific enzyme immunoassay. Concentrations ranged from below the limit of detection to 19,013 microg/m(2) (22,588 microg/g dust). Concentrations per square meter were found to be correlated with endotoxins, mite and cat allergens, and culturable mold spores. Correlations were weaker when concentrations were expressed per gram of dust, indicating that variance in concentrations of all factors is largely determined by the amount of dust sampled. Associations between beta(1-->3)-glucan, housing characteristics, and occupant behavior were found for concentrations per square meter but not for concentrations per gram of dust. The following characteristics were associated with a significant increase in beta(1-->3)-glucan levels: carpets in the living room [means ratio (MR) = 1.9-2.1], keeping a dog inside (MR = 1.4), use of the home by four or more persons (MR = 1.4), use of the living room for > 180 hr/week (MR = 2.1), lower frequency of vacuum cleaning (MR = 1.6-3.0) and dust cleaning (MR = 1.2 and 1.4, respectively), and presence of mold spots during the past 12 months (MR = 1.4). We conclude that that the amount of dust sampled can be used as a proxy for hygiene and that beta(1-->3)-glucan concentrations per square meter are related to the amount of dust sampled.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor*
  • Allergens / analysis*
  • Behavior
  • Dust / analysis*
  • Endotoxins / analysis*
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Fungi / chemistry*
  • Germany
  • Glucans / analysis*
  • Household Work / statistics & numerical data*
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • beta-Glucans*


  • Allergens
  • Dust
  • Endotoxins
  • Glucans
  • beta-Glucans
  • beta-1,3-glucan