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  Chaetomium

Chaetomium - Chaetomium is a large ascomycetous fungus producing perithecia. It is found on a variety of substrates containing cellulose including paper and plant compost. It can be readily found on the damp or water damaged paper in sheetrock. It is characterized by densely hairy, egg-shaped fruiting bodies, which in turn enclose 4-8 brown spores. The hairs can take a variety of forms, depending upon the species. The spores collect in a dense mass outside the body. Most species are strong decomposers of cellulose and occur wherever this material is abundant, such as in soil, dung, or rotting plants. In addition to being a contaminant, Chaetomium are also encountered as contributory agents of infections in humans. Chaetomium as a health hazard, indoor air biocontaminant and biodeteriorator Some species of Chaetomium have been implicated in nosocomial infection of patients in hospital environment after bone marrow transplantation (9). Many species are also known to produce mycotoxins (6, 8) and are recognized human allergens (2). The most common species in water-damaged buildings is Chaetomium globosum. In many cases it occurs together with Stachybotrys chartarum and other hydrophilic moulds. It produces high quantities of biomass (up to 10 mg/cm2) on building materials (3). It has been isolated from wallpaper, drywall, baseboards, carpets and window frames. It is a major cause of biodeterioration of paper and other cellulose containing materials. As a health hazard,

Clinical information  Chaetomium globosum produces very high quantities of mycotoxins, especially chaetoglobosins A and C when growing on gypsum board (4, 6). It is a known agent of skin and nail infections in humans and is more rarely a cause of cerebral and systemic infections in immunocompromised individuals (1, 7). Although Chaetomium globosum is reported to have type I & III allergens (5) the spores are not easily aerosolized and hence exposure to airborne spores may be rather limited. However, exposure to cytotoxic mycotoxins and also fine hyphal fragments released from dried mycelia could be a major concern.

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