ASSESSMENT OF AIRBORNE FUNGI IN THE INDOOR ENVIRONMENT OF SCHOOLS IN IMPHALRajukumar Khumukcham and R.S. Khoiyangbam
Poor indoor air quality in schools has often been linked to increasing health impacts among school children. Airborne fungi may become one of the primary contaminants in the classrooms besides particulates, chemicals, and other pollutants. The current study aimed to assess the airborne fungi in the schools in Imphal city, Manipur. The investigation was carried out by using a two-stage Andersen air sampler. The fungi were isolated and identified based on morphological and growth characteristics. The highest indoor fungal concentration (587.75 CFU m-3) was isolated in the school located at the heart of the city, and the lowest (465.96 CFU m-3) was isolated in the school near the residential area. The concentrations of fungi in the outdoor air ranged between 543.62 and 645.99 CFU m-3. The fungal concentration was highest during February and lowest during January. The fungal species isolated in the classroom and their respective contribution percentages to the total fungal concentration load were Cladosporium (38.24 %), Aspergillus (15.29 %), Curvularia (11.76 %), Alternaria (10.20%), Penicillium (9.08 %), Fusarium (8.04 %) and Rhizopus (2.75 %). The indoor-to-outdoor (I/O) ratios with less than one indicate exogenous sources of indoor fungal contamination. There was a significantly positive correlation (r=0.99 at p<0.001) between the indoor and outdoor fungal concentrations.