Comparative studies of fungal media for the recovery of Stachybotrys Chartarum from Environmental Samples

Stella M. Tsai1, M.Sc., Chin S. Yang, Ph.D., Patricia Heinsohn, Ph.D., CIH P&K Microbiology Services, Inc., Cherry Hill, NJ

Five commonly used fungal media were used to determine the relative recovery efficiencies of Stachybotrys chartarum (SC) by culturing sixty-five unknown environmental samples from building materials. These fungal media were cornmeal agar (CMA), Czapek cellulose agar (CCA), 2% malt extract agar (2% MEA), 1% malt extract agar (1% MEA) and rose bengal agar (RBA). The samples were first examined microscopically for the presence of SC. It was found that all five fungal media were all suitable for the recovery of SC from the environmental samples. The recovery frequency of SC from bulk samples ranged from 87.7% on 2% MEA to 95.4% on CMA. Qualitative differences of colony growth and interaction between S. chartarum and other fungi were observed on the media. CMA yielded the best sporulation and highest recovery rate of SC from the environmental samples. The other four media also supported the isolation and recovery of SC but at reduced rates.