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Have you ever thought about the air you are breathing? ... inside your car?

Fungal colonization of automobile air conditioning systems

(1)  Environmental Research Center, Dept of Biology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, USA, US
(2)  Interface Research Corp, Kennesaw, GA, USA, US

  Air samples and swab samples of the air conditioning vents were collected from 29 automobiles in the metropolitan region of Atlanta, GA, and cultured for fungi. Among the fungi observed, species of Acremonium, Aspergillus, Alternaria, Aureobasidium, Cladosporium, and Penicillium were in the highest densities. Transparent adhesive tape imprints, SEM observations, and enrichment culture of components of five systems demonstrated fungal hyphae on the metal surfaces and within the matrix of various insulation materials. The evaporator removed from one automobile because of a series of complaints of noxious odors was densely colonized by Penicillium viridicatum. The amplification of known allergenic and odor-producing fungi occurred within the automobile air conditioning systems.

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Volatile Organic Compounds Associated with Microbial Growth in Automobile Air Conditioning

(1)  Department of Biology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA, US

Volatile organic compounds from Penicillium viridicatum and Methylobacterium mesophilicum growing on laboratory media and on component materials of automobile air conditioners were analyzed with gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. P. viridicatum produced compounds such as 4-methyl thiazole, terpenes and alcohols, whereas M. mesophilicum produced dimethyl disulfide, dimethyl trisulfide, and chlorophenol with growth on laboratory media. In comparison with laboratory media, fewer volatiles were detected from colonized foam insulation materials. Biofilms of M. mesophilicum on aluminum evaporator components produced mainly dimethyl disulfide. These biofilms, after inoculation with P. viridicatum, produced offensive smelling alcohols and esters such as 2-methyl propanol, 3-penten-2-ol, and the ethyl ester of butanoic acid. The moisture and substrates innate to the automobile air conditioning systems provided an environment suitable for microbial biofilm development and odor production. Reduction of retained moisture in the air conditioning system coupled with use of less susceptible or antimicrobial substrates are advised for remediation of the noxious odors.

Full article found here


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