The presence of fungi in a home always indicates that moisture is or has been present.
Biodet has been involved in the microbiology of leaking buildings for over 20 years and uses a number of different methods to help our clients resolve their fungal issues.
If visible fungal growth is present, either a piece of the material the fungus is growing on or a Sellotape® swab can be sent for examination. Full instructions on how to take a Sellotape® swab correctly can be found on our Sampling Techniques tab. By looking at the structure and spores of the fungi present on the material or Sellotape® swab we can identify the fungus and give information as to any potential health or building issues.
The spore-trapping non-culturable air sampling method can be used to establish the extent of any health risks to occupants from any potential fungal growth. This can be employed to sample the air quality and determine the types and levels of fungal spores and structures in the indoor environment. This is then compared to the ‘normal and unavoidable’ flora typically found in the built environment as well as to our database of samples we have analysed over a number of years. By using this method, we can detect the ‘black mould’ also known as Stachybotrys, as well as a number of other fungal types that have the potential to be toxigenic or allergenic when present in the air in levels above normal.
Culturable methods can also be performed on water damaged carpets or from swabs taken from the carpet to establish bacterial and fungal levels. Water damaged carpets that have not been dried promptly allow bacterial and fungal counts to reach excessive levels. It has been our experience that even when badly water damaged carpet has been cleaned and dried, there is the risk that fungal spores and endotoxins may remain to cause ongoing symptoms.
If contamination by sewage is suspected an Escherichia coli swab analysis can be performed. The use of this organism as an indicator of faecal contamination has been well established.