PMID: 9687450Aug 4, 1998Paper

Volatile compounds originating from mixed microbial cultures on building materials under various humidity conditions

Applied and Environmental Microbiology
A KorpiP Pasanen


We examined growth of mixed microbial cultures (13 fungal species and one actinomycete species) and production of volatile compounds (VOCs) in typical building materials in outside walls, separating walls, and bathroom floors at various relative humidities (RHs) of air. Air samples from incubation chambers were adsorbed on Tenax TA and dinitrophenylhydrazine cartridges and were analyzed by thermal desorption-gas chromatography and high-performance liquid chromatography, respectively. Metabolic activity was measured by determining CO2 production, and microbial concentrations were determined by a dilution plate method. At 80 to 82% RH, CO2 production did not indicate that microbial activity occurred, and only 10% of the spores germinated, while slight increases in the concentrations of some VOCs were detected. All of the parameters showed that microbial activity occurred at 90 to 99% RH. The microbiological analyses revealed weak microbial growth even under drying conditions (32 to 33% RH). The main VOCs produced on the building materials studied were 3-methyl-1-butanol, 1-pentanol, 1-hexanol, and 1-octen-3-ol. In some cases fungal growth decreased aldehyde emissions. We found that various VOCs accompany microbial activity but th...Continue Reading


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