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Assessment of Airborne Bacteria and Fungi

Quantitative Assessment of Fungi and bacteria in air inside Bradford Apartment
The experiment was conducted from the week from 10/26/2014 to 11/02/2014 at the Bradford apartments. Different types of agar media were used to estimate and quantitatively assess fungi and bacteria in air within an air-conditioned apartment unit. Fungi are essential to our environment, due to their function of decomposing organic materials. Nevertheless, airborne fungal spores can cause irritations and allergies and can even compromise the human immune system in less maintained buildings. Inappropriate humid control or water damage, as seen in the apartment used for this experiment, can lead to high loads of fungal spores. Thus, this study focuses on the qualitative assessment of Fungi and bacteria in air inside a Bradford Apartment by using different agar media, which were incubated at two different temperatures corresponding to human body temperature (37°C) and room temperature (25°C) . Noticeable is that almost all agars incubated at 25°C show a greater count of colonies than those incubated at 37°C.
Introduction The Apartment of interest is on the top floor and recently experienced some water damage due to a leak in the roof structure. It currently houses an Oceanic 29 gallon Biocube, which evaporates about one gallon of water within a week. The Apartment temperature was set to 25 C while conducting the experiment. The building contains vaulted ceilings and central air conditioning, which creates various microclimates favorable by fungi and bacteria. In addition, the living room and bedroom of the apartment contains carpet. Airborne fungal spores can cause irritations and allergies and can even compromise the human immune system in less maintained buildings (Taylor et al. 2014).
The kingdom Fungi includes funguses or fungi, which represent a large group of eukaryotic organisms. All fungi are heterotrophs, which means they absorb nutrients through their cell walls and cell membranes. They are essential to our environment, because they decompose organic material and therefore, recycle nutrients essential for plant growth. Besides yeast, all fungi consist of elongated filaments, also called hyphae. When the hyphae grows bigger in size, it creates a network called mycelium. Once fruiting, they become mushrooms or molds. Fungi are abundant everywhere, such as dead matter, air, and soil but also in symbiosis with plants, animals and/or with other fungi (Van De Graaff, Kent M. et al, 2009).
Bacteria belong to prokaryotic microorganisms, which lack a true nucleus and bounded organelles. They appear in different shapes such as spiral, spherical or rod-shaped. It is believed that bacteria were the first life form on our planet and are therefore present in soil, water, deep in the earth crust, and extreme conditions such as nuclear reactors. Most bacteria are harmless and can be found on and in the human body like the gastrointestinal tract. They also live in symbiosis with other animals and plants. One of their roles is to break down surrounding organic materials by converting them into absorbable compounds. (Van De Graaff, Kent M. et al, 2009).
The media for this lab includes Rose Bengal Agar (RBA), Potato Dextrose Agar (PDA) and trypticase soy Agar (TSA). In past research experiments PDA and RBA have been used to cultivate fungi. TSA is used for Bacterial growth (Neogen 2011).
Frequent sinus infections were traced back to severe allergic irritations in eyes and sinuses, which compromised the renter’s immune system and caused illness. Therefore, this experiment focuses on bacterial and fungi abundance in air regarding different locations with three different growth media. Due to the structure of the apartment, greater fungal counts should be expected at 25oC than at 37oC.
Methods Experiment was conducted from 10/26/2014 until 11/02/2014. Each agar was prepared with 500 ml deionized water, which was added into three different 1 liter conical flasks. Each dehydrated medium was weighed according to each Agar type: 16 g of Rose Bengal Agar, 39 g of Potato Dextrose Agar, and 40 g of Trypticase Soy Agar. Each dehydrated media was added into its own flask, it was well shaken and mixed. After sealing each flask with aluminum foil and autoclave tape, all three flasks were autoclaved at 15 PSI (120°C) for 20 minutes. Once safe to open the autoclave machine, the flasks were taken out and allowed to cool down.
Meanwhile, 4 petri dishes were labeled for each location, Patio, Bedroom, Living room and bathroom. Each flask was tilted sideways before removing the aluminum foil to prevent contamination through air entering the flask. The solution was then poured into 24 petri dishes. All dishes were left out for about 30 minutes to cool down and solidify.
After sealing each petri dish, there were transported to the location of interest. Two petri dishes of each agar were exposed for 15 minutes at each location besides the patio location, which were exposed for only 5 minutes. Of the two petri dishes from each location, one was incubated at 25°C while the other one was incubated at 37°C.
All petri storage units were sterilized before exposed petri dishes were placed upside-down inside of it. The first storage united only contained petri dishes incubated of 25oC, where as the second unit contained only dishes incubated for 37°C. Each united was labeled accordantly and placed in its according incubation set to 25°C or 37°C. After a week, plates were examined and number of colonies were noted. Only fungi colonies were recorded on Rose Bengal and Potato Dextrose agar, while Trypticase Soy Agar only noted Bacteria colonies.
Results Note that high numbers of 35 and 26 fungi colonies have been counted on RBA and PDA which were exposed outside for 5 minutes and incubated at 25°C. In contrast, TSA only showed 7 bacterial colonies at the same conditions. TSA shows great numbers of 19 bacterial colonies at 25°C in the bathroom, while Rose bengal only counts fungi colony for the same location. On the other hand, Potato Dextrose counts 4 fungal colonies. Noticeable is that almost all agars incubated at 25°C show a greater count of colonies than those incubated at 37°C, except PDA for the bathroom (Table 1).
Discussion Fungi are present everywhere in great numbers and play an important role in decomposing organic matter. Our subtropical climate outside contains heat and moisture, which can affect the building structure. Furthermore, the apartment houses a 29 gallon Oceanic Biocube, which evaporates approximately one gallon within a week. The greatest amount of colonial growth was noted outside on my patio in PDA and RBA. PDA is composed of Potato Starch and Dextrose that encourages fungal growth, because dextrose and starch are a sugar unit called glucose. It functions as an energy source for fungal sporulation. This explains why 26 fungi colonies have been noted on PDA. The final pH of PDA is 5.6 /- 0.2 which inhibits most bacterial growth but provides a good base for fungi. Some of the components in Rose Bengal Agar are soy pentose and dextrose. These substances provide nitrogen, vitamins, and energy encouraging fungal growth. Rose Bengal is a major ingredient in the Agar to avoid rapidly growing molds and inhibits bacterial growth. Another ingredient is Magnesium Sulfate, providing trace elements essential for good fungal growth. All the ingredients provide a perfect base for fungal growth, explaining the 35 colonies counted. On the other hand, the air inside the apartment is filtered, dried, cooled down, and distributed by the air conditioner. Nevertheless, the water vapor from the aquarium causes high humidity within the apartment and changes the air conditions within the rooms.
Some fungi and bacteria live in symbiosis within the human gastrointestinal tract. This explains why the greatest number of bacterial colonies were present in the bathroom. One ingredient in TSA is Pancreatic Digestion of casein, which provides nitrogen, vitamins and carbons for good bacterial growth. A majority of bacteria and fungi are known to survive very harsh conditions known to humans. Therefore, even though the bathroom is frequently cleaned, some bacteria and fungi are able to survive. As a result, 19 colonies in the bathroom were collected and incubated. Bacteria and fungi grow in many environments with different temperatures, from the cold arctic to hot springs. Therefore, the optimum growth temperatures vary. Bacteria can be psychrophilic, mesophilic, or thermophilic, with wide ranges of temperatures. Bacteria living within the human digestive system are exposed to a temperature of 37°C, explaining the colonial count at 37°C (Eddleman 1998).
Fungi can live in different ranges of temperatures just as Bacteria, but the ranges differ. Most fungi are mesophilic, which lay between 18°C-22°C. Some fungi are tolerant to temperature changes, meaning they can survive or even grow in higher or lower temperatures varying from their optimum temperature. On the one hand, if the temperatures rise below the optimum temperature range, it can slow down or even inhibit chemical reactions, which can slow down growth. On the other hand, higher temperatures lead to denaturation of enzymes causing death of the cell. Therefore, the petri dishes incubated at 25°C have a greater number of colonies than the ones incubated at 37°C (Neogen 2008).
References Dr. Burge, Harriet. “How Does Heat Affect Fungi.” The Environmental Reporter. Environmental Mircobiology Laboratory, Inc. March, 2006. Web. 19 September, 2013. 1-13.
Ph. D. Eddleman, Harold. “Optimum Temperature for Growth of Bacteria.” Indiana Biolab, Palmyra IN. Revision #3. 23 January 1998. Web. 19 September, 2013. 1-5.
Neogen. “POTATO DEXTROSE AGAR.” Acumedia. 4 April, 2011. Web. 19 September, 2013. 1-2.
Neogen. “ROSE BENGAL CHLORAMPHENICOL AGAR.” Acumedia. 2 January, 2012. Web. 19 September, 2013. 1-2.
Neogen. “TRYPCTIC SOY AGAR.” Acumedia. 6 November 2010. Web. 19 September, 2013. 1-3.
Van De Graaff, Kent. Crawley, John L. “A Photographic Atlas for the Biology Laboratory.” Morton Publishing Company. 6th Edition. Englewood, Colorado, 2009. 63-76. 27-28. Print.
Taylor, Michael. Gaskin, Sharyn. Bentham, Richard. Pisaniello, Dino. “Airborne fungal profiles in office buildings in metropolitan Adelaide, South Australia: Background levels, diversity and seasonal variation.” Indoor and Built Environment. 14 August 2013.

Number of colony forming unites (CFU)
Rose Bengal Agar
Potato Dextrose Agar
Trypticase Soy Agar
25 C
37 C
25 C
37 C
25 C
37 C
Living Room

Diseases Affecting Different Parts of the Body

Pnuemonia Pneumonia is an inflammation of the one or both lungs in the lower respiratory tract that involves lung parenchyma including alveoli and supportive structure. It is also called pneumonitis.
Causes: it can be caused by a wide variety of etiologic agents including bacteria virus, aspiration, fungi, mycobacterium mode of transmission, clinical manifestation vary depending on the etiologic agents.
Pneumonia are classified according to causative organism. They are:
Bacterial pneumonia: The most common cause of pneumonia in adults is a bacterium called Streptococcus pneumonia. This form of pneumonia is sometimes called pneumococcal pneumonia. other types of bacteria can cause pneumonia, including: homophiles influenza, staphylococcal aureus, Mycoplasma pneumonia, Chlamydophila pneumonia.
Viral pneumonia: Viruses can also cause pneumonia, influenza ‘A’ most common with the patient of AIDS. Viruses are a common cause of pneumonia in young children.
Aspiration pneumonia: The object or substance inhaled causes irritation in the lungs or damages them. This is called aspiration pneumonia. Rarely, pneumonia can be caused by breathing in: vomit, a foreign object, such as a peanut, a harmful substance, such as smoke or a chemical.
Fungal pneumonia: It more often affects people whose immune systems are weakened. Fungal pneumonia includes histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis and blastomycosis.
Sign and symptoms:
Sudden onset of high fever.
Shaking chills and sweating.
Coughing, sneezing, nasal congestion.
Shortness of breath
Rapid Shallow breathing
Muscle pain
Weakness, malaise
Nausea and vomiting
Sharp stabbing chest pains during coughing or deep breath.
Cough producing unpleasant sputum, which may be green, rusty or blood stained.
History of the patient.
Physical examination (auscultation)
Chest x-ray
Sputum test for culture
Blood culture
Liver function test
C T scan
Bacterial pneumonia treated by antibiotic (Penicillin, Ampicillin).
Anti -Inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, aspirin, and paracetamol).
Anti-viral drugs, steroids.
Chest physiotherapy
Bed rest until infection shows sign of clearing.
Given oxygen to improve ventilation.
High level of fluid intake.
Deep breathing and coughing
Prevention measure:
Avoiding smoking, alcohol and cold, vaccination (vaccine against influenza), good hygiene.
Asthma: Asthma is a respiratory condition marked by wheezing. Asthma affects the airways of the lungs. The airways become narrow and sometime produce more mucus than usual.
Exact cause is unknown
Asthma is caused by inflammation in the airway. The inflammation irritates the muscles around the airways, and causes them to squeeze (constrict). This causes narrowing of the airways. It is then more difficult for air to get in and out of the lungs. This leads to wheezing and breathlessness. The inflammation also causes the lining of the airways to make extra mucus which causes cough and further obstruction to airflow.
Sign and symptoms:
feeling breathless (you may gasp for breath)
a tight chest, like a band tightening around it
wheezing, which makes a whistling sound when you breathe
coughing particularly at night and early morning
attacks triggered by exercise, exposure to allergens and other triggers
Sweating, restless
History taking, physical examination, sign and symptoms, spirometry test, peak spirometry flow rate test, airway responsiveness tests, test of airway inflammation, test of allergy
asthma cannot be cure but some treatments are for rapid relief of symptoms. Such as inhaled steroids, inhaler (puffer), Bronchodilator ( salbutamol , nebulizer), give sodium cromoglycate to prevent attacks,
The common cold- avoid expose to cold environment, the effects of a cold can last for a long time unless you are given increased treatment. Asthma attacks are often set off by allergies. Common things which people with asthma are allergic to are grass pollen, house dust and animal fur (including your own pets).
Exercise- running, particularly in cold weather, can cause an asthma attack. However, exercise-induced asthma can be controlled. People with asthma should not avoid sport and exercise – they contribute to overall good health.
Irritants -like tobacco smoke, fumes and a dusty atmosphere will often lead to asthma attacks.
Emotion – anger, anxiety or happiness – can bring on an attack of wheezing in some people with asthma. But it is not true that ‘nerves’ are the underlying cause of asthma.
Pollution- especially from traffic, is increasingly recognized as making asthma worse.

Diseases of the Digestive System: Peptic ulcer: A peptic ulcer is an area of damage to the lining of either the stomach or the wall of the small bowel. Peptic ulcer named accordingly to their esophageal ulcer, duodenal ulcer, gastric ulcer. Most common in duodenal ulcer.
Infection from helicobacter pylori.
Take non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs a long period. E.g. ibuprofen, aspirin.
Constant tension and stress is another contributing factor.
Excessive secretion of HCL acid in the stomach can also lead to peptic ulcer. Such as caffeine, smoking, alcohol increase HCL secretion.
Sign and symptoms:
Symptoms may last a few days, weeks, or months.
Sometimes symptoms can disappear but reappear months, afterwards, often with no identifiable cause.
Sometimes, the patient may even be symptom-less.
Other symptoms include: heartburn, a bitter taste in your mouth, feeling sick or vomiting , regurgitating food, gnawing pain in mid epigastrum or back,
Weight lost, bleeding, perforation
History taking
Physical examination
H. pylori test
MRI, CT scan,
Urea breath test
Barium contrast x- ray
Blood test
Treatment and prevention:
Self-help: like, avoid spicy food, alcohol, caffeine, excessive meat, milk and cream consumption. This will reduce pain. Reduce stress, stop smoking, eating regular meals and not missing meals will also neutralize acidity. Avoid steroid drugs and painkiller.
Medicine: proton pump inhibitor, such as omeprazol and lansoprazol. H2 blockers, example, ranitidine and cemetidine.
Treating H. pylori infection. This is usually a combination of a proton pump inhibitor and two antibiotics.
Gallstone: Gallstones usually form in the gall bladder from the solid constituents of bile. They can be made of pigment or cholesterol. They vary greatly in size, shape and composition. Gallstones are uncommon in children, but become increasingly prevalent after 40 years age.
Sex: women are twice as likely as men develop gallstone due to excess produce estrogen in pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy to increase cholesterol level and reduce gallbladder movement
Family history
Weight: overweight increased cholesterol reduces gallbladder emptying. Especially in woman.
Diet: diet in a fat and cholesterol and low fiber increase the risk of gallstone.
Age: People older than age 60 are more likely to develop gallstones than younger people. As people age, the body tends to secrete more cholesterol into bile.
Diabetes: People with diabetes generally have high levels of fatty acids called triglycerides. These fatty acids may increase the risk of gallstones.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs: Drugs that lower cholesterol levels in the blood actually increase the amount of cholesterol secreted into bile. In turn, the risk of gallstones increases.
Sign and symptoms:
steady pain in the right upper abdomen that increases rapidly and lasts from 30 minutes to several hours
pain in the back between the shoulder blades
pain under the right shoulder
nausea and vomiting
Abdominal bloating, intolerance of fatty foods, belching, gas and indigestion.
Computerized tomography
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)
Blood tests
Surgical: Cholicystectomy
Medical: lithotripsy
Anyone can have gallstones, but middle aged, overweight women are particularly likely to develop the problem.

Diseases of endocrine system Goiter: Goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland. There are many forms:
Simple goiter: is most commonly due to the lack of iodine. The gland is overactive and is enlarged and often visible.
Hyperthyroidism: is a disease in which the thyroxin level is too high.
Hypothyroidism: is caused due to the lack of thyroxin in blood.
not getting enough iodine in the diet, over production ,unproduction of hormones , family history, age, sex.
Sign and symptoms:
Neck mass, weakness, breathing difficulties, weight loss, tachycardia, swallowing difficulties, hoarseness, cough, dizziness, palpitation, hyperactivity
Sign and symptoms, history taking, physical examination, ultrasound of thyroid, x- ray, thyroid scan, thyroid stimulating hormone (THS) test, free thyroxin (T4), biopsy
Treatment and Prevention:
Simple goiter can be treated with thyroid hormone in the form of pill, antithyroid drugs (propylthiouracil, methimazole), suppressive therapy (levothyroxine), thyredectomy , getting enough iodine in the diet.
Cushing’s syndrome: Cushing’s syndrome is a condition in which the adrenals secrete excess of cortisone. Cushing’s syndrome is relatively and most commonly affects adult aged 20 to 40. People who are obese, type two diabetes, high blood pressure have an increased risk of developing the disorder.
Body is exposed to an excess of glucocorticoid hormones over a long period of time. The most common cause of this excess is the taking of oral steroid treatment for medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
Sign and symptoms:
Weight gain around the chest and abdomen
Red and rounded face (moon face)
Look like buffalo hump
Thin and weak muscles in the leg and arms
Fluid retention in the leg
Excessive facial and body hair
Euphoria, infertility
High blood pressure
Purple or pink stretch marks appear on the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, arms and breasts
Skin becomes fragile and thin, bruises easily
History taking, physical examination, Blood test, urine test, x-ray, CT scan, MRI
Cortisol -inhibiting drugs
References: BBC (2009), Pneumonia. Available from: (accessed by 09/11/2010).
Endocrine and Metabolic Disease Home (2010), Cushing’s syndrome, National Endocrine and Metabolic Disease Information Service. Available from: (Accessed by 11/11/2010).
BBC (2008), Cushing’s syndrome. Available from: (accessed by 11/11/2010).
Wikipedia (2010), Cushing’s syndrome. Available from:’s_syndrome (Accessed by 11/11/2010).
NHS Choices (2010), Pneumonia. Available from: (Accessed by 10/11/2010).
Wikipedia (2010), Pneumonia. Available from: (Accessed by 10/11/2010).
BBC (2009), Understanding Asthma. Available from: (accessed by 10/11/2010).
NHS Choices (2010), Asthma. Available from: ( Accessed by 10/11/2010).’s_syndrome