KARACHI - Karachi University’s (KU) Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD) Dr Panjwani, has conducted an aero mycological study to monitor and analyze airborne fungal flora of Karachi environment. This is the first research analysis conducted in Pakistan using Burkard’s 7-Day Recording Volumetric Spore Trap instrument.This study will be helpful to physicians, allergists in devising appropriate treatment and preventive methodologies for asthma and allergy patients. The study says, “Airborne fungal spores are well known to cause respiratory allergic diseases particularly bronchial asthma, allergic rhinitis, rhino-conjunctivitis and allergic broncho-pulmonary aspergillosis in both adults and children especially in humid cities like Karachi.” Karachi is the largest cosmopolitan city in Pakistan, with an estimated population of 20 million people with favorable environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, heat index, dew point, wind velocity, rain) for fungal growth. The air that we breathe every day is primarily composed of viable (microorganisms) and nonviable components (dust particles and water vapors).Asthma severity is shown to be directly correlated with fungal exposure, and asthma related mortalities due to high level of fungal spore is consider as important for clinical correlation of such diseases. Overall, the prevalence of respiratory allergies caused by fungi is known to be about 20 to 30 per cent in atopic individuals, and up to 6 per cent in the general population all over the world.”Director International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), KU, Prof Dr Muhammad Iqbal Ch said that the study was part of a project conducted at PCMD and ICCBS entitled “Allergy and Asthma in Pakistan: Regional Variation and Impact of Aeroallergens” funded by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.He said, “Tasneem Akhter, who recently got an MPhil in Molecular Medicine, is the author of the study. This work was done at a laboratory of the late Prof Dr M Anwar Waqar who was the main Principal investigator and the project is now taken over by Muhammad Ahmed Mesaik.Overall, 113, 244 spores were recorded from Karachi’s environment, with the daily concentration of 310 spores per cubic meter. In total, 60 different types of fungal spores were collected from the environment. Major allergenic fungal spores in the air are Cladosporium spp (44.8 per cent) Alternaria spp. (15.5 per cent), Periconia spp (6.1 per cent), Curvularia spp (2.1 per cent), Stemphylium spp (1.3 per cent) and Aspergillus/Penicillium type (1 per cent) emerged to be major components constituting more than 70 per cent of the airborne fungal flora. Other minor components include grass smut, Agrocybe, Torula, Xylaria, Chaetomium, Arthrinium, Rust, Sordaria, and Massarina besides many others.