Fungi on Fuel Wood Chips in a Home
Keywords:Wood chips, chip storage, fuel chips, pathogens, allergenic fungi
Softwood tops and branch fuel chips with high moisture contents were subject to biological heating in storage. This was due primarily to infestations of mesophilic (ca. 5 × 104 propagules/g dry weight wood) and thermophilic (ca. 1.6 × 106 propagules/g dry weight wood) fungi. Loading chips into a home fuel-chip furnace resulted in the distribution of fungal propagules throughout the basement and upper floors. Many of the species isolated are human allergens and pathogens.
The results suggest that dry storage of chips (that is, environmental conditions which do not allow fungal growth) is important to avoid propagation of allergenic and pathogenic fungi. They also suggest that chips which have been subject to biological heating should not be transported into a home without precautions. Individuals handling chips should wear dust masks, and take other measures to avoid prolonged contact and contamination of living quarters.
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