Determination of unique microbial volatile organic compounds produced by five Aspergillus species commonly found in problem buildings

Pengfei Gao, Frederick Korley, Jennifer Martin, Bean T. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study identified unique microbial volatile organic compounds (UMVOCs) produced by five Aspergillus species (A. fumigatus, A. versicolor, A. sydowi, A. flavus, and A. niger) cultivated on malt extract agar and gypsum board. The hypothesis was that UMVOCs can be used to predict the presence of Aspergillus species. During the cultivation humidified air was continually supplied and evenly distributed through each of the culture flasks. Volatile metabolites were collected using Tenax TA tubes on Days 8, 16, and 30 after inoculation. The volatile metabolites were determined by gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy after thermal desorption. Nine compounds recognized as UMVOCs - 3-methyl-1-butanol; 2-methyl-1-propanol; terpineol; 2-heptanone; 1-octen-3-ol; dimethyl disulfide; 2-hexanone; 3-octanone; and 2-pentylfuran - were found on the cultures in detectable amounts. The first two compounds were detected at the highest frequency when combining both media. The first four compounds were found to be the dominant UMVOCs on gypsum board, which could be used as chemical markers of the common Aspergillus species grown indoors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-140
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Industrial Hygiene Association Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes



  • Aspergillus
  • Cultures
  • Fungal contamination
  • Indoor air quality
  • Problem buildings
  • Unique MVOCs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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