My Leicester colleague Catherine Pashley has done a lot of work in this area, so I was interested in this recent minireview in PLOS Pathogens.
- What Is Asthma?
- Why Do Fungi Make Spores? And a Guide to Terminology
- Do Fungal Spores Cause Asthma?
- Which Species Are Associated with Asthma?
- If Identification to Species Matters, Will New Tools Provide Needed Data?
Asthma and the Diversity of Fungal Spores in Air. (2013) PLoS Pathog 9(6): e1003371. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003371
The diversity of fungal spores in air is vast, but research on asthma focuses on a handful of easily identified, culturable species. Ecologists are developing new tools to probe communities and identify the full complement of fungi in habitats. These tools may enable identification of novel asthma triggers, but scientists involved in public health or medicine rarely interact with mycologists focused on ecology. With this primer, my aim is to facilitate communication by providing doctors with a basic, modern guide to spores, by teaching mycologists the essential facts of asthma, and by providing patients with a succinct summary of what is known about spores and asthma. By highlighting the use of emerging metagenomics technologies in ecology, I intend to illustrate how these tools might be used to more thoroughly understand the potential diversity of fungi involved in asthma.