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Assessment of occupational exposure to azole resistant fungi in 10 Portuguese bakeries

1 Environment and Health Research Group (GIAS) Escola Superior de Tecnologia da Saúde de Lisboa, ESTeSL, Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
2 Research Institute for Medicines (iMed.ULisboa), Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
3 Centro de Investigação em Saúde Pública Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal

Topical Section: Fungal Biology

Occupational exposure to bioaerosols resulting from handling of flour dust and raw materials in bakeries is associated with health problems. The emergence of azole-resistant fungal species in the environment is thought to be related with the use of azole fungicides in cereal crops and prevention of postharvest spoilage. As raw materials used in bakeries are commonly exposed to azoles, we investigated the mycobiota and azole-resistant fungi prevalence in this occupational environment. Ten Portuguese bakeries were assessed through electrostatic dust cloth (EDC, n = 27), settled dust (n = 7), and raw material (n = 26) samples. Samples were inoculated in malt extract agar (2%) (MEA) with chloramphenicol (0.05 g/L) and in dichloran glycerol (DG18), and onto Saboraud screening media supplemented with 4 mg/L itraconazole, 1 mg/L voriconazole, or 0.5 mg/L posaconazole, and incubated for 3–5 days at 27 °C. Except for one out of the ten analyzed bakeries, Cladosporium sp., Penicillium sp., and Aspergillus sp. were the most prevalent fungi identified. Aspergillus sp. and Mucorales order were identified in raw materials with both media, whereas Penicillium sp. was identified in DG18 only. Azole-resistant species were identified in the environment (EDC) and, to a lower extent, in raw materials, including Aspergillus sp. and Mucorales. The presence of azole-resistant fungal species in bakeries represents an occupational risk for workers. This study proposes complementary sampling methods for the evaluation of occupational exposure to mycobiota, and highlights the importance of studying the prevalence of azole-resistant strains in specific occupational environments.
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Keywords azole-resistance; occupational exposure; bakeries; fungi; Aspergillus; Mucorales

Citation: Liliana Aranha Caetano, Tiago Faria, Ana Crespo Batista, Susana Viegas, Carla Viegas. Assessment of occupational exposure to azole resistant fungi in 10 Portuguese bakeries. AIMS Microbiology, 2017, 3(4): 960-975. doi: 10.3934/microbiol.2017.4.960

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