Airborne Culturable Fungi in Primary Schools

Building Characteristics and Environmental Factors in Qom, Iran


  • Reza Fouladi-Fard Qom University of Medical Sciences, Iran; Lorestan University of Medical Sciences, Khorramabad, Iran
  • Najmeh Vaezi Qom University of Medical Sciences, Qom, Iran
  • Amir Hossein Mahvi Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran
  • Mohsen Zohrab Beigi Islamic Azad University, Iran



Airborne, Fungi, Primary schools, Indoor


The aim of this current research was to investigate airborne fungi in indoor environments at primary schools. The study also examined the correlation between these fungi and building characteristics, as well as some geographical and meteorological parameters. To achieve this aim, a passive sampling method was used. In this study, 148 samples were collected from the indoor environments of 24 schools located in Qom, Iran. To collect the samples, passive sampling was performed using Petri plates containing Sabouraud dextrose agar (SDA). The characteristics of school buildings were evaluated by checklist. The mean ± SD fungal load of indoor air in selected schools was found to be 10.1 ± 14.0 colonies (CFU/dm2/ h). According to the IMA standard, the majority of the classes (71.7%) were in very good condition. The dominant species were as follows: Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus candidus, and Aspergillus flavus. Furthermore, the fungal load of girls’ schools was significantly higher than that of the boys' schools (p < .05). The correlation analysis using the Pearson test showed that there was a direct correlation between the mean fungal load of classrooms and the number of students (p < .01). The highest concentration of fungi was found on the ground floor and in poor ventilation conditions (p < .05). During the study, it was found that schools located in the western part of Qom, Iran, had a higher concentration of fungi. This can be attributed to their exposure to the prevailing winds and the penetration of outdoor dusty air into indoor environments. The large number of students in each class and the inappropriate ventilation, which are the causes of airborne culturable fungi of these classes, call for the need for proper operation of school buildings.


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Author Biographies

Reza Fouladi-Fard, Qom University of Medical Sciences, Iran; Lorestan University of Medical Sciences, Khorramabad, Iran

REZA FOULADI-FARD, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Environmental Health Engineering in the Department of Environmental Health Engineering, Faculty of Health, Qom University of Medical Sciences, Qom, Iran. His major research interests lie in the area of indoor and outdoor air pollution, environmental and health effects of air pollution, environmental modeling, and health risk assessment. Email:,

Najmeh Vaezi, Qom University of Medical Sciences, Qom, Iran

NAJMEH VAEZI, MSc, is graduated in Environmental Health Engineering from Department of Environmental Health Engineering, Faculty of Health, Qom University of Medical Sciences, Qom, Iran. She is also an employee of Qom Province Water and Sewage Company. Her major research interests lie in environmental health engineering, water and wastewater pollution, environmental and health effects of water and wastewater pollution. Email:

Amir Hossein Mahvi, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran

AMIR HOSSEIN MAHVI, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Environmental Health Engineering in the Department of Environmental Health Engineering, Faculty of Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. His major research interests lie in the area of environmental health engineering, water pollution, and air pollution. Email:

Mohsen Zohrab Beigi, Islamic Azad University, Iran

MOHSEN ZOHRAB BEIGI, MA, graduated in English Language and Literature from the Department of English Language and Literature, Borujerd Branch, Islamic Azad University (IAU), Iran. He is also an eco-poet, TESOL holder, and IELTS/TOEFL teacher. His main fields of research interests lie at the intersection of literature and ecology, with a particular focus on post-pastoral discourse and its implications for environmental and animal concerns, the loss of innocence, and the degradation of humanity. Email:


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