Protein translation inhibition by Stachybotrys chartarum conidia with and without the mycotoxin containing polysaccharide matrix

Enusha Karunasena, J. Danny Cooley, D. R. Douglas, David C. Straus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Recent studies have correlated the presence of Stachybotrys chartarum in structures with SBS. S. chartarum produces mycotoxins that are thought to produce some of the symptoms reported in sick-building syndrome (SBS). The conidia (spores) produced by Stachybotrys species are not commonly found in the air of buildings that have been found to contain significant interior growth of this organism. This could be due in part to the large size of the Stachybotrys spores, or the organism growing in hidden areas such as wall cavities. However, individuals in buildings with significant Stachybotrys growth frequently display symptoms that may be attributed to exposure to the organism's mycotoxins. In addition, Stachybotrys colonies produce a "slime" or polysaccharide (carbohydrate) matrix that coats the hyphae and the spores. The intent of this project was to determine whether the carbohydrate matrix and the mycotoxins embedded in it could be removed from the spores by repeated washings with either aqueous or organic solvents. The results demonstrated that the process of spore washing removed compounds that were toxic in a protein translation assay as compared to spores that were washed with an organic solution, however a correlation between carbohydrate removal during the washing process and the removal of mycotoxins from the spore surface was not observed. These data demonstrated that mycotoxins are not likely to be found exclusively in the carbohydrate matrix of the spores. Therefore, mycotoxin removal from the spore surface can occur without significant loss of polysaccharide. We also showed that toxic substances may be removed from the spore surface with an aqueous solution. These results suggest that satratoxins are soluble in aqueous solutions without being bound to water-soluble moieties, such as the carbohydrate slime matrix.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-97
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2004


  • Stachybotrys chartarum
  • conidia
  • mycotoxins
  • sick building syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)


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