JEM Spotlight: Fungi, mycotoxins and microbial volatile organic compounds in mouldy interiors from water-damaged buildings

J Environ Monit. 2009 Oct;11(10):1849-58. doi: 10.1039/b906856b. Epub 2009 Jul 20.


Concerns have been raised about exposure to mycotoxin producing fungi and the microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) they produce in indoor environments. Therefore, the presence of fungi and mycotoxins was investigated in 99 samples (air, dust, wallpaper, mycelium or silicone) collected in the mouldy interiors of seven water-damaged buildings. In addition, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were sampled. The mycotoxins were analysed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) (20 target mycotoxins) and quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-Q-TOF-MS). Morphological and molecular identifications of fungi were performed. Of the 99 samples analysed, the presence of one or more mycotoxins was shown in 62 samples by means of LC-MS/MS analysis. The mycotoxins found were mainly roquefortine C, chaetoglobosin A and sterigmatocystin but also roridin E, ochratoxin A, aflatoxin B(1) and aflatoxin B(2) were detected. Q-TOF-MS analysis elucidated the possible occurrence of another 42 different fungal metabolites. In general, the fungi identified matched well with the mycotoxins detected. The most common fungal species found were Penicillium chrysogenum, Aspergillus versicolor (group), Chaetomium spp. and Cladosporium spp. In addition, one hundred and seventeen (M)VOCs were identified, especially linear alkanes (C(9)-C(17)), aldehydes, aromatic compounds and monoterpenes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Air Pollutants / chemistry
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis*
  • Construction Materials / analysis*
  • Construction Materials / microbiology*
  • Fungi / classification
  • Fungi / isolation & purification*
  • Mycotoxins / classification
  • Mycotoxins / isolation & purification*
  • Organic Chemicals / analysis*
  • Organic Chemicals / chemistry
  • Organic Chemicals / metabolism
  • Risk Assessment
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Volatilization


  • Air Pollutants
  • Mycotoxins
  • Organic Chemicals