Fungal DNA in hotel rooms in Europe and Asia—associations with latitude, precipitation, building data, room characteristics and hotel ranking
There is little information on the indoor environment in hotels. Analysis of fungal DNA by quantitative PCR (qPCR) is a new method which can detect general and specific sequences. Dust was collected through swab sampling of door frames in 69 hotel rooms in 20 countries in Europe and Asia (2007–2009). Five sequences were detected by qPCR: total fungal DNA, Aspergillus and Penicillium DNA (Asp/Pen DNA), Aspergillus versicolor (A. versicolor DNA), Stachybotrys chartarum (S. chartarum DNA) and Streptomyces spp. (Streptomyces DNA). Associations were analysed by multiple linear regression. Total fungal DNA (GM = 1.08 × 108 cell equivalents m−2; GSD = 6.36) and Asp/Pen DNA (GM = 1.79 × 107 cell equivalents m−2; GSD = 10.12) were detected in all rooms. A. versicolor DNA, S. chartarum DNA and Streptomyces DNA were detected in 84%, 28% and 47% of the samples. In total, 20% of the rooms had observed dampness/mould, and 30% had odour. Low latitude (range 1.5–64.2 degrees) was a predictor of Asp/Pen DNA. Seaside location, lack of mechanical ventilation, and dampness or mould were other predictors of total fungal DNA and Asp/Pen DNA. Hotel ranking (Trip Advisor) or self-rated quality of the interior of the hotel room was a predictor of total fungal DNA, A. versicolor DNA and Streptomyces DNA. Odour was a predictor of S. chartarum DNA. In conclusion, fungal DNA in swab samples from hotel rooms was related to latitude, seaside location, ventilation, visible dampness and indoor mould growth. Hotels in tropical areas may have 10–100 times higher levels of common moulds such as Aspergillus and Penicillium species, as compared to a temperate climate zone.