This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of transported Asian dust and other environmental parameters on the levels and compositions of ambient fungi in the atmosphere of northern Taiwan. We monitored Asian dust events in Taipei County, Taiwan from January 2003 to June 2004. We used duplicate Burkard portable air samplers to collect ambient fungi before, during, and after dust events. Six transported Asian dust events were monitored during the study period. Elevated concentrations of Aspergillus (A. niger, specifically), Coelomycetes, Rhinocladiella, Sporothrix and Verticillium were noted (p <0.05) during Asian dust periods. Botryosporium and Trichothecium were only recovered during dust event days. Multiple regression analysis showed that fungal levels were positively associated with temperature, wind speed, rainfall, non-methane hydrocarbons and particulates with aerodynamic diameters ≤10 μm (PM 10), and negatively correlated with relative humidity and ozone. Our results demonstrated that Asian dust events affected ambient fungal concentrations and compositions in northern Taiwan. Ambient fungi also had complex dynamics with air pollutants and meteorological factors. Future studies should explore the health impacts of ambient fungi during Asian dust events, adjusting for the synergistic/antagonistic effects of weather and air pollutants.
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