A primary school was investigated for airborne fungi by a culture-based method, in classrooms underneath a green roof in comparison to conventional concrete roofs. A portable Burkard sampler was used for the collection of air samples onto petri dishes with 2% Malt Extract Agar. The fungal aerosol mean concentration was 71 CFU m-3 (range 17-176 CFU m-3, median 51) in the classroom directly under the green roof, significantly lower than 192-228 CFU m-3 (range 0-1090 CFU m-3, median 69) under the concrete roofs and 188-412 CFU m-3 (range 0-2183 CFU m-3, median 771) in ground floor classrooms. The Indoor/Outdoor ratio was 0.4 for total fungi and 0.2-1.1 for predominant genera underneath the green roof, whereas 1-2.1 and 0.3-3.2 respectively for the rest of classrooms. The Potential Exposure Dose (PED) for fungal particles was calculated to 4.6 CFU kg-1 and 9.3-35.3 CFU kg-1 respectively. The genera Penicillium, Cladosporium and Aspergillus prevailed indoors and in ambient air. Aspergillus concentrations indoors correlated significantly with the concentration of the coarse fraction (PM10) of particulate matter. The genus Penicillium increased indoors during late spring and summer, in temperature 20-23 °C and relative humidity 42-53% and also predominated in ambient air, both indicative of multiple anthropogenic sources of amplification. The evidence about the green roof positive effect on microbial indoor air quality (mIAQ) is a matter of concern for further investigation.
Keywords: Fungi; Microbial indoor air quality (mIAQ); Particulate matter; Potential exposure dose (PED); Schools; Urban green infrastructure.
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