Glossary

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Abatement - Eliminating or removing of asbestos containing materials.
Acute - Refers to any disease which has a rapid onset and persists a relatively short period of time. (e.g. days, weeks), terminating either in recovery or death. The term is also used for exceptionally severe or painful condition.
Acute Toxicity - The concentration of a compound required causing a poisonous effect (e.g. lethality) on a target organism, organ, or cell-type.
Aerobe - Any organism that grows in the presence of oxygen. Obligate aerobes are organisms that require molecular oxygen to grow. Facultative organisms can grow with or without oxygen, and they shift in its presence to a respiratory metabolism.
Agar - A gelatin like material obtained from seaweed and used to prepare culture media on which microorganisms are grown. Also used for electrophoresis of DNA and RNA.
Airborne Microorganisms - Biologically active contaminants suspended in the air either as free-floating particles surrounded by a film of organic or Inorganic material, or attached to the surface of other suspended particulates.
Alternaria sp. (mold) - Extremely widespread and ubiquitous.  Outdoors it may be isolated from samples of soil, seeds, and plants.  It is commonly found in outdoor samples.  It is often found in carpets, textiles, on horizontal surfaces in building interiors and on window frames.  The species Alternaria alternata is capable of producing tenuazonic acid and other toxic metabolites which may be associated with disease in humans or animals.  
Alveoli - The inside end of the airway tree, consisting of tiny air sacs within the lungs, formed at the ends of bronchioles; through the thin walls of the alveoli, the blood takes in oxygen and gives up its carbon dioxide in the process of respiration.
Amosite (asbestos) - A fibrous iron-magnesium silicate that is used in commercial form of asbestos.
Anaerobe - Obligate anaerobes are organisms that can grow only in the absence of oxygen. Facultative organisms can grow with or without oxygen, and they shift in its presence to a respiratory metabolism .
Antigen - Any substance, often proteins but occasionally complex ripids, carbohydrates, or some nucleic acids, (usually foreign) that, when introduced into the body of a warm-blooded animal, has the capacity to stimulate the formation of the corresponding antibodies; and the ability to react specifically with these antibodies.
Asbestos - Incombustible chemical-resistant, fibrous mineral forms of impure magnesium silicate, used for fireproofing, electrical insulation, building materials, brake linings, and chemical filters.  Considered to be a carcinogen.
Ascospores (mold) - Frequently found in the air after rain.  Most are plant pathogens and saprophytes.  Very little is known about the medical importance.
ASHRAE - American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-conditioning Engineers, Inc.
Aspergillus / Penicillium (mold) - They are important causes of food spoilage, grain deterioration, and toxin production. Both Aspergillus and Penicillium are known as inhalant allergens and some species can cause systemic infections and mycotoxicoses. They also play important roles in industrial fermentations for antibiotics, cheese production, and numerous fermented foods.
Aspergillus (species) (mold) - There are over twenty species that are recognized as opportunistic pathogens usually resulting in pulmonary infections.  Mycotoxins are produced by members of this genera.  They are frequently associated with damp houses and cause airway allergies.  (note:  species name is italicized) 
Aspergillus candidus (mold) - Causes human infections including onychomycosis, otomycosis, and invasive aspergillosis.
Aspergillus clavatus (mold) - Considered a contaminant.
Aspergillus flavipes (mold) - Implicated in cutaneous aspergillosis in an immunocompromised child and in osteromyelitis.
Aspergillus flavus (mold)- Commonly considered a contaminant but also known to cause a wide range of infections.  Known to produce aflotoxins.
Aspergillus fumigatus (mold) - Considered a pathogen causing illness and allergies.  The most frequently isolated cause of aspergillosis in humans, especially the immune-compromised patient. 
Aspergillus glaucus (mold) - Commonly known as a contaminant, but also known to cause infection under certain conditions.  Occasional reports of sinusitis, otitis, cerebral, orofacial, and pulmonary infections.
Aspergillus nidulans (mold) - Usually considered a contaminant, but has been involved in infections.
Aspergillus niger (mold) - This is the black mold of onions and occurs frequently in house dust.  Most commonly being implicated in pulmonary disease in immunocompromised hosts. 
Aspergillus restrictus (mold) - Causes endocarditis, onychomycosis and pulmonary involvement.
Aspergillus sydowii (mold) - Causes onychomycosis, invasive aspergillosis and keratomycosis.
Aspergillus terreus (mold) - Considered a contaminant that causes allergies.  Also known to cause infections such as invasive bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, onychomycosis, cutaneous, ophthalmic, and disseminated mycoses.
Aspergillus ustus (mold) - Known to cause otitis media, disseminated infections.
Aspergillus versicolor (mold) - Considered an indicator organism for moisture problems in houses.  It is frequently isolated from water damaged building materials.  It can cause onychomycosis, or invasive aspergillosis.
Basidiospores (mold) - Mushroom Spores. In most regions this category is dominated by wood rotting fungi. They are most prevalent in forested areas and appear at night after a soaking rain.
Botrytis (mold) - Commonly associated with plants and can cause allergic asthma after indoor exposure.  High levels are likely to be found where large numbers of plants and high humidity are found.
Building Related Illness (BRI) - Occurs when the symptoms of a diagnosable illness can be identified and can be attributed directly to the airborne contaminants in the building.  Symptoms may require longer recovery times.
Candida (mold) - Causes superficial skin infections, oral and vaginal infections.  Also, found on leaves and flowers, water and soil.
Cercospora (mold) - Considered a contaminant.
Chaetomium (mold) - Found on a variety of substrates containing cellulose including paper and plant compost. Reported to be an allergen.
Chrysotile (asbestos) - A fibrous mineral variety of serpentine forming commercial asbestos.
Cladosporium (mold) - The most frequently encountered genera in the outdoor air.  Indoors it can be found in drip pans and the bottom of refrigerators, on moist window frames and on painted surfaces which are moist or in high humidity locations. It is one of the most common fungal airway allergens.
Conidia - Asexual spores of fungi that form at the tips and the sides of hyphae. Conidia are not unusually resistant to adverse environmental conditions and serve to promote aerial dissemination.
Conjunctivitis -  Inflammation of the surface of the eye, characterized by redness, itching, soreness, and tearing .
Contaminant - When referred to mold (see Saprophyte) it generally causes allergies and occasionally is known to cause disease.
Crocidolite (asbestos) - A fibrous, lavender-blue or greenish mineral, a sodium iron silicate that is used as a commercial form of asbestos.
Curvularia (mold) - This fungus has wide distribution. It is a plant pathogen causing leaf spots, seedling blight and seed germination failure. It is reported to be allergenic.
Dimorphic Fungus - Fungus that can grow either as mold or as yeast dependent upon the environment.
Drechsleria / Helminth / Bipolaris (mold) - A contaminant.  Occasionally infect the eye, bones, aorta, sinuses, lung, brain, and skin.
Dust Mite - A contaminant which eat human and pet skin cells.  They live in rugs, carpets, sheets, mattresses, pillows and upholstered furniture.
Endotoxins - Harmful substances (toxins) that are produced by many gram-negative bacteria. Endotoxins are characterized for being contained within the cell wall that produce them, or are integral constituents of cellular structure and are not released until the cell disintegrates.
Epicoccum (mold) - A secondary invader of plant materials that grows at higher temperatures.  Even though it is considered a contaminant it can be a human skin pathogen at these higher temperatures.
Filter, HEPA - High Efficiency Particulate Air filter that is at least 99.97 percent efficient in removing particles and allergens, of 0.3 microns or greater diameter, from the air .
Fusarium (mold) - A contaminant, but known to be an allergen causing eye, skin and nail infections along with causing sinusitis.
Fusicladium (mold) - A contaminant.  Not much is known about this medically.
Geotrichum (mold) - Is found as normal flora in humans and seems to cause disease only in compromised hosts.
Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis - A swelling form of pneumonia that is caused by an immune reaction in an allergic patient. The reaction may be brought about by a variety of inhaled organic dusts, often those containing fungal spores. A wide variety of symptoms may occur, including difficulty breathing, fever, chills, malaise, muscle aches, and cough. The symptoms usually occur 4 to 6 hours after exposure and takes up to 48 hrs to be resolved.
Hyphae - The principal element of the growing or vegetative form of a mold (filamentous fungi), characterized by branching tube-like growth.
Immuno-Compromised - Patients that are susceptible to opportunistic pathogens such as those in the genera Aspergillus, Fusarium, Mucor and Rhizopus. 
IPM - Integrated pest management.
Legionnaires Disease - A progressive and potentially fatal atypical pneumonia caused by the inhalation of water aerosols containing Legionella bacteria deep into the lung. The onset is relatively abrupt with high fever, malaise, myalgia, headache, nonproductive cough, inflammation of the membrane covering the lungs (pleurisy), and sometimes diarrhea.
Medium - (pi. Media). A balanced chemical composition employed in the laboratory for growing microorganisms; media may be used in the liquid state or solidified with agar, gelatin or other solidifying agents.
Mesophile - An organism that grows optimally within the temperature range of 77oF to 104oF (2SoC to 40oC). MICROORGANISM -A minute organism; microbes, bacteria, cocci, viruses, molds, etc., are microorganisms.
Mucor (mold) - A common contaminant.  Worldwide distribution and almost always found in house dust.  It can cause infection in the immunocompromised patient.
Mutagen - Any chemical or physical agent that causes a genetic change (mutation) or speeds up the rate of mutation .
Mutagenic Agent - Any chemical substance or physical agent that is capable of enhancing the frequency of detectable mutants within a population of organisms or cells.
Mycotoxin - A Toxin that the mold uses to inhibit or prevent the growth of other organisms.
Mycelium - The branching tube-like hypha or mass of hyphae constituting the body of a fungus. Mycelium can be a form of reproduction of the fungus.
Myceliaol Fragment - Piece of mycelium and it may reproduce.
Mycovirus - Viruses with a host-range specificity limited to the fungi.
Mitigate - Alleviate or relieve .
MSDS - Material Safety Data Sheets.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) - A wide variety of conditions that individuals may believe to be caused by low levels of exposure to a wide variety of chemicals.
Nephrotoxin - A chemical that has a primary toxic effect on the kidneys.
NVLAP - National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (National Institute of Standards and Technology)
NIOSH - A federal agency, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. It conducts research on health and safety concerns, tests and certifies respirators, and trains occupational health and safety professionals.
Nigrospora (mold) - Commonly considered a contaminant.  Not known to be a pathogen that causes diseases.
Nosocomial Infections - Infections that are acquired in a hospital.
Oidium (mold/mildew) - Commonly considered a contaminant.  Not know to be pathogenic. 
Organic Dust Toxic Syndrome (ODTS) - Fever characterized by rapid onset after exposure to high organic dust levels. It is not well understood but thought to be too rapid to be an immune response.
OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Parasite - Organism that lives on or within the tissues of another living organism from which it obtains nutrients.
Pathogen - Any microorganism capable of causing disease in an animal, plant, or microorganism.
Pathogenic - Having the ability to produce or cause a disease.
Penicillium (mold) - Considered a contaminant, but found in a variety of diseases. It has been known to cause keratitis (inflammation of the cornea), external ear, respiratory, and urinary tract infections. Some strains produce toxins.
Periconia (mold) - Found on plants and grasses. Considered an allergen.
Peronospora - A contaminant, mildew, smut.  (see Basidiospores)
Pestilotia (mold) - Not a documented etiologic agent.  Widespread, usually occurring on damaged plants.
Phoma (mold) - Widely distributed in soil, on plants and dead plant material.  Can occasionally be pathogenic to humans.
Pithomyces (mold) - Found in decaying wood, soil, and plant material.  It is not known to cause any infections in humans.
Pontiac Fever - Inhalation fever (see definition above) caused by exposure to airborne legionella bacteria. Milder disease than legionnaires' disease.
Psychrophilic - Microorganisms that tolerate rather than prefer very low temperatures, their optimum temperatures for growth are below 20 C, but they multiply at a substantial rate even at O C.
Pure Culture - A culture of microorganisms in which all cells are of a single type. RESPIRABLE PARTICLES - Those particles in air, which penetrate into and are deposited in the nonciliated portion of the lung.
Particulates - Solids or liquids light enough to be suspended in the air.
Remediation - The act or process of correcting a fault or deficiency.
Rhinitis - Inflammation of the mucosal lining of the nose characterized by nasal drainage, congestion, itching, and sneezing.
Rhizopus (mold) - Frequently found in house dust, soil, fruits, nuts, and seeds.  Also, found in left over food or fruit and vegetable garbage.  Exposure to large numbers has been reported to cause respiratory problems.  It can be an opportunistic pathogen in immune compromised patients with diabetic ketoacidosis, malnutrition, sever burns, or other immune compromising situations.
Rusts (mold) - A Teliomycetes that is commonly considered a plant pathogen.  Widespread amongst plants and vegetation.
Serology - The in vitro study of antigens and antibodies, and their interactions.
Saprophyte - Any organism that requires and utilizes nutrients from dead or decaying organisms in the form of organic compounds in solution.
Scopulariopsis (mold) - Commonly considered a contaminant, but is known to infect the nails (usually toenail) and is rarely associated with infection of soft tissue, bone and lung in immunocompromised patients.  Found in soils, plants, feathers and insects.
Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) - A building is defined as sick if 20 percent or more of the building's occupants complain of such problems as headache, eye irritation, nausea, sore throats, dry or itchy skin, sinus congestion, nose Irritation, fatigue and dizziness for more than two weeks; If the symptoms are relieved when the complainant leaves the building; and, if no specific cause of the problem can be identified. (ASHRAE Journal, July 1988, p.40)
Sinusitis - A swelling of one or more nasal sinuses. It may be a complication of an upper respiratory infection, dental infection, allergy, a change in atmosphere, as in air travel or underwater swimming, or a defect of the nose. With swelling of nasal mucous membranes the openings from sinuses to the nose may be blocked, causing pressure, pain, headache, fever, and local tenderness. 
Smuts (mold) - Same as Rusts.  A Teliomycetes that is commonly considered a plant pathogen.  Widespread amongst plants and vegetation.
Spore - A resistant and or disseminative form produced by certain bacteria or fungi (molds); spores are characteristically formed in response to particular (commonly adverse) environmental conditions. Mold (fungal) spores are specifically unicellular sexual or asexual reproductive bodies.
Stachybotrys (mold) - Grows on wet cellulose (paper) containing materials. It produces toxic metabolites which can irritate the skin and mucosal membranes. The trichothecenes produced are also toxic when inhaled. Care should be taken when this organism is present in the indoor environment.
Stemphylium (mold) - Commonly considered a contaminant.  Widespread distribution on decaying vegetation and in soil.
Teratogen - A chemical or physical agent that causes birth defects if exposed to a developing embryo.
Tetraploa (mold) - Considered a contaminant.  Grows on a wide range of host plants.
Thennophilic - Microorganisms that have an optimum temperature for growth as high as 50 to 55 C, with tolerance to 90 C. They are found especially in hot springs and compost heaps.
Torula (mold) - Found in Soil. Considered an allergen
Toxic Effect - Reaction to a biological toxin; may involve death or dysfunction of specific organs or organ systems such as the liver, kidney, brain or immune suppression.
Toxicity - The degree to which something is poisonous. 2. A condition that results from exposure to a poison or to poisonous amounts of a substance that does not cause side effects in small amounts.
Toxigenic - Organism that is able to produce a toxin, or toxins.
Toxin - A poisonous substance that is a specific product of the metabolic activities of a living organism and is usually very unstable, notably toxic when introduced into cells, tissues or the entire target organism.
Trichoderma (mold) - Commonly considered a contaminant.  An emerging pathogen in hosts immunocompromised by leukemia, transplants, chronic lung disease, chronic renal failure and amyloidosis.  Widespread distribution in decaying vegetation, on wood and in soil.
Ulociadium (mold) - Isolated from soil, wood and decaying plant material.  Grows on wet wall board and particle board.  Considered an allergen and contributes to allergy load in persons allergic to Alternaria.
Virus - An infectious agent that contains either RNA or DNA in its core surrounded by a protein shell, is able to alternate between intracellular and extra cellular states, and replicates only when present in living cells. Viruses depend entirely upon the living cells for biosynthetic machinery; and some viruses can even exchange genes with the host cell.
VOC - "Volatile Organic Compound", any organic chemical with a low boiling point that becomes gaseous at ambient temperatures. This designation is not a reflection or indication of human health effects.
Wallemia (mold) - Found world wide in house dust, air samples, dry food stuffs and soil.  It attacks materials with low water activity.  This fungi does produce mycotoxins.
Xerophile - An organism with enzyme systems that enable it to grow optimally under dry conditions.

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