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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Environmental factors influencing fungal growth on gypsum boards and their biodegradation : a university campus case study Kazemian, Negin


Contamination and growth of fungi within buildings, has gained increasing public attention within the last decade. Indoor fungal growth can have many adverse effects on building materials and has been linked to many health effects. In an effort to better understand the different environmental conditions that lead to fungal growth on indoor materials of drywall, and observe the biodegradative capabilities of these organisms, a case study was conducted at the University of British Columbia-Okanagan campus. The results of this study showed that age, and type of rooms can affect the diversity and composition of fungal taxa, with rooms in older buildings and laboratories supporting a higher diversity of fungi. The type of flooring and presence of carpet was not an influencing factor on fungal growth and diversity observed on drywall samples. A higher degree of fungal growth also affected the physical and mechanical properties of these building materials, with more fungi increasing the dry weight loss and decreasing the tensile strength of drywall. Although there are several epidemiological studies on the association between indoor fungi and the development of health problems, much still needs to be learned about what factors in indoor environments lead to the growth of these microorganisms. With a better understanding of which factors and environmental conditions trigger fungal growth in built environments, we can eventually better design indoor living spaces occupied by humans and develop methods for dealing with such problems.

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