Compost is a major source of Aspergillus pathogens

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Fourteen percent of Aspergillus smoke Cultured isolates from garden soil were resistant to the agricultural antifungal drug, tebuconazole, tebuconazole. Resistance to tebuconazole confers resistance to the medicinal triazoles used to treat aspergillosis, a potentially serious pneumonia caused by inhalation of A. fumigatus Germs. The search was published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

In the study, which was Ph.D. lead author Jennifer Shelton. thesis, she and her collaborators found that soil fertilized with compost contains high concentrations of A. fumigatus Germs.

“The research indicates that handling of compost poses a public health risk when individuals are exposed to large numbers of volatile spores and raises questions about whether compost bags should carry additional health warnings, whether compost should be sterilized prior to shipment, and whether it should be advised “Wear face masks when handling the compost,” Shelton said.

A novel aspect of this study is that soil samples – 509 of them – were collected from their gardens by the 249 citizen scientists who Shelton recruited to this effort via social media and through the Aspergillosis Trust, a charity working to raise awareness of the problem. All samples were collected on the same day 21/6/2019. Of these samples, the investigators cultured 5,174 isolates of A. fumigatus. many of these A. fumigatus The isolates contained a polymorphism in the cyp51A gene, which is frequently associated with triazole resistance. Soil samples containing compost were significantly more likely to develop resistance to tebuconazole A. fumigatus strains than those that did not, and the compost samples grew in numbers much higher than A. fumigatus from other soil samples.

The study was motivated by an increasing number of cases caused by triazole resistance A. fumigatus The germs are in the UK, said Chilton, who did the research at Imperial College London and the UK’s Center for Environment and Hydrology. Shelton said: “An estimated over 185,000 people in the UK are living with aspergillosis, with conditions ranging from severe hypersensitivity, to ‘fungal asthma’, to chronic colonization or invasion of the lungs which can spread to other organs including the brain.” Chronic forms of aspergillosis are life-limiting and difficult to treat, and invasive infections have mortality rates of 40 to 70 percent, higher if they are triazole-resistant. A. fumigatus. ”

People usually inhale germs from the environment, including those found in A. fumigatus. Those with weakened immunity, due to immunosuppressive medications, conditions such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, lung damage from tuberculosis, COVID-19, severe influenza or smoking, are especially susceptible, but even those with People who do not have predisposing conditions can develop aspergillosis if they inhale sufficient numbers of the germs.

“Our research indicates that handling soil enriched with compost and compost exposes individuals to large numbers of spores and that behavioral changes on their part, and actions by the compost industry can reduce these exposures,” Shelton said.

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more information:
Jennifer MJ Shelton et al, Citizen science monitoring of triazole resistance to Aspergillus fumigans in UK residential garden soils, Applied and Environmental Microbiology (2022). DOI: 10.1128 / AEM.02061-21

Submitted by the American Society for Microbiology

the quote: Compost is a major source of pathogenic Aspergillus spores (2022, January 13) Retrieved January 14, 2022 from

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