Catching some air: a method to spatially quantify aerial triazole resistance in Aspergillus fumigatus

H.H. Kortenbosch, Fabienne van Leuven, Cathy van den Heuvel, S.E. Schoustra, B.J. Zwaan, E. Snelders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Airborne triazole-resistant spores of the human fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus are a significant human health problem as the agricultural use of triazoles has been selecting for cross-resistance to life-saving clinical triazoles. However, how to quantify exposure to airborne triazole-resistant spores remains unclear. Here, we describe a method for cost-effective wide-scale outdoor air sampling to measure both spore abundance as well as antifungal resistance fractions. We show that prolonged outdoor exposure of sticky seals placed in delta traps, when combined with a two-layered cultivation approach, can regionally yield sufficient colony-forming units (CFUs) for the quantitative assessment of aerial resistance levels at a spatial scale that was up to now unfeasible. When testing our method in a European pilot sampling 12 regions, we demonstrate that there are significant regional differences in airborne CFU numbers, and the triazole-resistant fraction of airborne spores is widespread and varies between 0 and 0.1 for itraconazole (∼4 mg/L) and voriconazole (∼2 mg/L). Our efficient and accessible air sampling protocol opens up extensive options for fine-scale spatial sampling and surveillance studies of airborne A. fumigatus.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jun 2024


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