The key results from the project
- 18 out of 22 homes were mouldy, and all had the right temperature and humidity to grow mould;
- the mould was readily recovered in a form that was likely to cause harm;
- three different yeasts described as “emerging human pathogens” were found;
- bacteria recovered from some of the homes was resistant to antibiotics; and
- Landcare Research says the homes with the yeasts and the antibiotic-resistant bacteria will need further investigation.
Landcare Research plant pathologist Stanley Bellgard helped the students with their project, and gave them swabs and a tool to measure temperature and humidity.
“In the houses, the [mould] spores were actively in the air and these are the things that we inhale.
“Mostly it’s not an issue because we are healthy and our wellbeing is intact and these moulds generally don’t have an impact on us.
“But if we are stressed, physiologically stressed, malnourished or suffering dehydration, or have some predisposition to disease then these moulds… can create this downward spiral of health,” he said.
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