Atmospheric transport of mold spores in clouds of desert dust

Arch Environ Health. 2003 Aug;58(8):498-504.


Fungal spores can be transported globally in clouds of desert dust. Many species of fungi (commonly known as molds) and bacteria--including some that are human pathogens--have characteristics suited to long-range atmospheric transport. Dust from the African desert can affect air quality in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. Asian desert dust can affect air quality in Asia, the Arctic, North America, and Europe. Atmospheric exposure to mold-carrying desert dust may affect human health directly through allergic induction of respiratory stress. In addition, mold spores within these dust clouds may seed downwind ecosystems in both outdoor and indoor environments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Microbiology*
  • Air Movements*
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis
  • Desert Climate* / adverse effects
  • Dust* / analysis
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Global Health*
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Inhalation Exposure / analysis
  • Spores, Fungal*
  • United States
  • United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration


  • Air Pollutants
  • Dust