Abstract

Water-related fungi are known to cause taste and odor problems, as well as negative health effects, and can lead to water-pipeline clogging. There is no legal regulation on the occurrence of fungi in water environments. However, much research has been performed, but further studies are needed. The main objectives of this study were to evaluate the fungal load and the presence of mycotoxigenic fungi in man-made water systems (for homes, hospitals, and shopping centers) connected to municipal water in Istanbul, Turkey. The mean fungal concentrations found in the different water samples were 98 colony-forming units (CFU)/100 mL in shopping centers, 51 CFU/100 mL in hospitals, and 23 CFU/100 mL in homes. The dominant fungal species were identified as Aureobasidium pullulans and Fusarium oxysporum. Aflatoxigenic Aspergillus flavus and ochratoxigenic Aspergillus westerdijkiae were only detected in the hospital water samples. Alternaria alternata, Aspergillus clavatus, Aspergillus fumigatus, and Cladosporium cladosporioides were also detected in the samples. The study reveals that the municipal water supplies, available for different purposes, could thus contain mycotoxigenic fungi. It was concluded that current disinfection procedures may be insufficient, and the presence of the above-mentioned fungi is important for people with suppressed immune systems.

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