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Endotoxin Contamination and Immunological Analyses of Bulk Samples from a Mushroom Farm.

Olenchock-SA; Lewis-DM; Marx-JJ Jr.; O'Campo-AG; Kullman-GJ
Biodeterioration Research 2: General Biodeterioration, Degradation, Mycotoxins, Biotoxins, and Wood Decay 1989:139-150
A study of endotoxin contamination at a mushroom farm was conducted. Bulk samples were taken from chicken manure, compost, pre dip compost, pre fill compost, pre spawn compost, spawn (mycelia), spawn mate (nutrient), compost and spawn mixtures, and whole mushrooms at a commercial mushroom farm in Florida where Agaricus-bisporus was grown in portable trays. Several cases of hypersensitivity pneumonitis had been reported at the farm. The samples were analyzed for gram negative bacterial endotoxins using the quantitative chromogenic limulus amebocyte assay. The inflammatory potential of the samples was assessed by measuring their in-vitro hemolytic activity of human complement in serum. Venous blood samples were collected from five workers with symptoms of hypersensitivity pneumonitis and ten workers without symptoms and assayed for precipitating antibodies to extracts of farm samples. The sera were also tested with a panel of 12 common antigens associated with hypersensitivity pneumonitis. The endotoxin concentrations in mushroom growth materials ranged from 1.12 endotoxin units per milligram (EU/mg) in the spawn mate to 1023.21EU/mg in the compost and spawn mixture. Freeze dried mushrooms had endotoxin concentrations of 1770.06EU/mg. The inflammatory potential of the growth materials was greatest for the pre dip compost and least for the spawn mate. The pre dip and pre fill compost and whole mushroom extracts contained antigens to which all workers' sera produced precipitating antibodies. The prevalence of precipitating antibodies to the extracts did not differ significantly between the workers with hypersensitivity pneumonitis and the asymptomatic workers. Serological responses to the panel of antigens did not differ significantly between the two groups. The authors conclude that the presence of endotoxin contamination in materials used in mushroom farming has been documented.
Agricultural-workers; Fungi; Agricultural-products; Bacteria; Poisons; Serological-techniques; Antibody-response; Occupational-health; Respiratory-hypersensitivity; Toxins;
Publication Date
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Book or book chapter;
O'Rear-CE; Llewellyn-GC;
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Biodeterioration Research 2: General Biodeterioration, Degradation, Mycotoxins, Biotoxins, and Wood Decay