Role of molds in farmer's lung disease in Eastern France

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2001 Jun;163(7):1534-9. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.163.7.2006077.


Farmer's lung disease (FLD) is common in the east of France. In the absence of the primary recognized FLD agent, Saccharopolyspora rectivirgula, its etiology remains unknown. A prospective case-control study was performed to find the etiology of FLD in this area. Eleven patients were matched with 11 healthy control farmers. Twenty-two urban subjects constituted the nonexposed control group. Microorganisms from cowshed air and fodder were identified and counted. The antigens of the microorganisms most frequently isolated at the 22 farms were used for serological tests. Farms of patients with FLD contained more Absidia corymbifera than those of healthy farmers (p < 0.05 in air, p < 0.01 in fodder). Electrosyneresis, performed with A. corymbifera somatic antigen, differentiated 9 of 11 patients with FLD from control subjects (p < 0.01). Other significant results were obtained with Eurotium amstelodami (p < 0.01) and Wallemia sebi (p < 0.05). In contrast, no significant results were obtained with the other seven antigens tested, including S. rectivirgula. Absidia corymbifera and, to a lesser degree, W. sebi or E. amstelodami are likely to be the main causes of FLD in this area. Modifications in working conditions over time could explain the emergence of these new contributing etiologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animal Feed / microbiology
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Fungal / immunology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cattle
  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Farmer's Lung / diagnosis
  • Farmer's Lung / etiology
  • Farmer's Lung / immunology*
  • Female
  • France
  • Fungi / immunology*
  • Fungi / isolation & purification
  • Housing, Animal
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Precipitin Tests
  • Prospective Studies


  • Antigens, Fungal