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Advanced Indoor Air Quality: Identification of Fungal Cultures (1632)

“A very well laid out course and material.” — Jessica L.

“[The course] reinforces identification skills.” — William R.

“Initially, I didn’t feel like I knew how to approach the exercises, but quickly realized it’s a case of learning as you go. By the second day I felt more confident.” — Jo P.


Course schedule: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., all three days

Identification of fungi in culture is an essential part of mycology. Generally, fungi are identified in nature on variety of substrata such as fallen logs, leaves, dungs, soil, etc. However, their growth in culture media provides important taxonomic characters that help with identification at species level as well as allowing preservation of such specimens for future studies.

The goal of this course is to teach you how to identify fungi in culture, in particular those species that laboratory analysts or technicians encounter from indoor environments such as Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Alternaria, Ulocladium, Aureobasidium, Acremonium, Mucor, Rhizopus and Trichoderma species, to name a few. The course focuses on identification of commonly found mitosporic fungi (mostly molds) and a few meiosporic species from indoor environments either from surfaces or from the air. A variety of pure fungal cultures as well as culture plates containing different species (mostly from Andersen air sampling) will be provided for examination.

Attendees will identify different fungal colonies in mix culture plates using macroscopic and microscopic characters. You will learn general techniques used in commercial mycological labs to help you improve your skills and become more efficient in identifying fungal cultures. You are also encouraged to bring interesting and challenging cultures for identification and share with other people in the class. This course is appropriate for analysts in environmental and clinical microbiology laboratories, aerobiologists and students of mycology. All participants are encouraged to work in small groups.

2.5 CM credits

Prerequisite: Course 1630, 1631, or equivalent

Day 1
• Introduction: importance of fungal culture identification; pros and cons
• Fungal taxonomy and nomenclature, biology and distribution
• Mycological literatures used for fungal ID; 70% knowledge of literature, 30% how to ID
• Conidiogenesis vs. Saccardoan spore types; is the latter ever helpful?
• Using culturable techniques to solve indoor air quality (IAQ) issues
• Mounting techniques and the use of mounting media
• Techniques used for identification in commercial labs; balancing efficiency and quality of work
• Sampling techniques and calculations
• Selection of pertinent media in IAQ
• Culture collection techniques to build small culture herbarium
• Molecular vs. morphological ID
• Culture identification

Day 2
• Culture identification (continued)

Day 3
• Culture identification (continued)
• Self-challenge: How many fungal colonies can you ID?
• Share your unknown fungi with class
• Concluding remarks
• Open discussion

Important: Please DO NOT bring clinically significant human or animal fungal pathogens to the class. Seal all the unknown culture plates using Parafilm or tapes and place in a sealed plastic bags.