Stachybotrys chartarum mycotoxins and growth prevention
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Recent studies have correlated Stachybotrys chartarum with sick-building syndrome (SBS). Sick-building syndrome is a term used by scienfists and laymen to describe conditions in which individuals living or working in a building complain of particular discomforts experienced only when they are in a specific environment. Stachybotrys chartarum produces mycotoxins that are able to produce symptoms that individuals in SBS complain of the fungal spores produced by Stachybotrys species are not commonly found in the air of buildings with significant fungal growth. Individuals in buildings with significant Stachybotrys growth display symptoms of exposure to the mycotoxins. The intent of this project was to identify whether the carbohydrate matrix and the mycotoxins embedded in them could be removed from the spores by repeated washings with methanol versus phosphate-buffered saline (PBS). The second portion of my thesis involves the evaluation of building materials that are able to prevent fungal growth. Currently, building materials such as ceiling tiles consist of cellulose-based materials, which allow for fungal growth in the presence of water-damage. The intent of this project is to determine whether an inorganic based ceiling tile is able to support fungal growth if an organic food source and water are made available.