As the exposure to fungi in buildings is a significant risk factor for a number of respiratory conditions including allergies, hypersensitivity pneumonitis and infections, the Mycology Reference Centre has developed expertise in understanding the biology of environmental moulds, exposure assessment, and their impacts on health.
What we do
The Mycology Reference Centre is home to the Mould Surveillance Unit. The team’s specialist staff provide microbial expertise, with particular emphasis on monitoring the indoor built environment for allergenic and pathogenic moulds and an integrated medical advisory expertise.
Services provided include a molecular identification services of referred cultures that is UKAS accredited, environmental and industrial investigation, contract research and provision of training.
We are supported by colleagues in the National Aspergillosis Centre, Infectious Diseases and Respiratory Medicine. The centre collaborates with both public and private sector organizations including NHS trusts, universities and advises a number of UK built environment institutes on all issues relating to moulds.
Mould contamination testing
Our laboratories offer a full microbial investigation, detection and testing service for all types of fungal contamination problems in homes, workplaces, hospitals, and on artifacts, building materials, food items, toys, works of art and objets d’art . Mould surveys and growth tests fully comply with national and international standards:
- BS ISO 16000-1:2006: General aspects of sampling strategy
- BS ISO 16000-19: 2012: Sampling strategy for moulds
- BS ISO 16000-18: 2011 – Detection and enumeration of moulds – Sampling by impaction
- BS ISO 16000-17: 2008 – Detection and enumeration of moulds – Culture-based method
- ISO 15189: Identification of moulds and yeasts by molecular sequencing
Investigation of the built environment and artefacts for mould contamination
We accept commissions for on-site mould-contamination testing. We can investigate a full range of fungal contamination problems in home, schools, workplaces and hospital environments. Our surveys include building exteriors, interiors and contents, sampling air, dust and visible moulds.
Detection and testing in practice
Our detection and testing service allows you to discover what kind of mould is growing in your home, workplace, or on your product. There are several ways we can help you to identify your mould:
- Site visit and sampling: we can send our team to you and they will undertake sampling and an analysis of the site with respect to likely sources of moulds. Our surveys can include buildings, interiors and contents but we can only access areas of the building that are ready accessible. i.e, we will not undertake to open up cavities, lift flooring or go into roof spaces. All fungi taken from the survey are identified, and we provide a full report including the clinical impact of mould exposure.
- Air sampling: we take air samples to determine the quantity and diversity of fungal spores. Clients should be aware that this would be a snapshot of the airborne moulds in the building at the time of sampling and may or may not reflect accurately the moulds present in the air taken at another time in the same room, consequently this is for information only. This is part of our on-site sampling but can be a stand-alone service.
- Surface sampling: we can isolate directly from objects or bulk samples of material/walls/wood. Our expert mycologists will then isolate and identify the predominant species of fungi present. You will receive a comprehensive report containing information on the clinical relevance and the mould’s hazard group status.
- We are not damp surveyors so cannot advise on why your home may be damp or on how any damage caused by damp may be remediated. You should engage a separate damp surveyor for that purpose.
- Our report is based solely on what we find in our samples and the known potential pathogenicity & allergenicity of the mould species we identify. The presence of most fungal species does not suggest that any individual will inevitably become ill as a consequence, nor does its absence infer that any illness will be relieved. Illness caused by dampness and moulds remains a highly debated area of medical science so any conclusions we may make are speculative and for information only.
- We cannot guarantee that we will identify the source of any health issues you may have, nor can we guarantee that any action taken as a result of our work will relieve the symptoms of any health issues you may have.
- Sampling, particularly air sampling is prone to provide different results from day to day, but our service is backed up by an NHS accredited identification service teamed with NHS respiratory and aspergillosis specialist centres, so we have a great deal of expertise in this field relating to asthma, hypersensitivity and aspergillosis. We will make every effort to provide you with our best possible opinion with regards to the impact the damp in your home may have on its human occupants.