Rated 3.5 of 5.
Level of importance:
Rated 4 of 5.
Level of validity:
Rated 3 of 5.
Level of completeness:
Rated 3 of 5.
Level of comprehensibility:
Rated 3 of 5.
|ScienceOpen disciplines:||Engineering, Civil engineering, Environmental engineering, Microbiology & Virology, Life sciences|
|Keywords:||surface sampling, NAHA, mould, Environmental science, Sustainability in architecture and the built environment, UK, Denmark, active (aggressive) air sampling|
This study aimed to establish a baseline level to differentiate whether an indoor environment is considered ‘normal’ or ‘problematic’ as an early indication for remediation. The author has also stated the limitations to perform such interpretation such as lack of a scientifically driven standard/values/cut-off points, and there is no consensus on the present values suggested by certain institutions. As in common practice, remediation is performed where by fungal growths are visible, and concerns raised by the occupants of possible health effects as well as aesthetics value. This study gives the readers a snapshot or cross-section of air-borne and surface fungal levels in selected normal UK residential buildings, although there are a few important points to be considered to add significant values to the manuscript.
References – need to standardised the format according to the journal format, either numbering or alphabetical order in the list of references.
It is recommended to add in more references to make it more relatable with current research and monitoring of indoor moulds, and how this study is important to fill those gaps.
Line 2: Problem of mould in the UK – is that associated with indoor environment in general or only with water intrusion, damped environment? It is best to state a prevalence rate and references to support this statement.
Line 6: Is ‘acceptable mould level’ refers to only airborne fungi? Or does it give weightage to common clinically important fungi which can brings effects on health or mycotoxin producers? Is there a way to address this from previous study or is it still a research gap?
Line 7: Is the baseline level indoors also correlates with the mould levels outdoors, since seasonal variations may also play a role in the fluctuations of fungal spores in both outdoor and indoor air? Maybe, could add in reference(s) from previous studies?
Line 13: This is correct that no visible moulds does not mean moulds are not present. Microorganisms are ubiquitous in the environment, and we are living in a non-sterile environment.
Line 26: The mould concentrations were measured using NAHA expressed in RFUs.
To add in more references/background on NAHA why this method is a way forward to be used as a marker of mould contamination.
It is important to know what are the advantages or disadvantages of this method as compared to other widely used methods, as a strong basis on why this method is preferred and more/equally reliable.
Is there side-by-side comparison and correlation with widely used method of media plate/filter attached to air-sampler expressed in CFUs? Any reference(s)?
Does the RFU correlates to culturable method or non-culturable method such as PCR? Any reference(s)?
How specific is the method to capture the enzymatic activity of only moulds and not other contaminants?
Materials and methods:
Page 2: Line 1: A total of 140 non-water-damaged rooms with no visible mould were sampled. How did the study sites were selected? Could the sample size infer/ represent the UK residential buildings? Or, was it a survey of selected buildings?
How long was the duration of the study, and do you think that environmental factors (confounding factors) such as seasonal variations, humidity level, and types of ventilation might affect the results?
Results and discussion:
Is this a separate section from ‘Discussion’?
To use clear terms. ‘Samples containing mould growth’……. Does it referring to growing moulds in culture media from the samples to confirm presence of culturable mould or does it refer to as ‘no visible mould growth at the sites’?
Missing link of figure (appears as error)
Figure 1: Missing word ‘98% of all samples from clean…...the UK and'
The RFU reading (x-axis) was grouped into nine scales. On what basis each cut-off of RFUs (2.7, 7.4. etc) and cut- off of 25 and 450 were chosen? Any reference(s)?
To include error bars (range, mean or median)
Figure 2: To include error bars (range, mean or median)
Same as Fig 1, why the cut-off points were chosen?
Page 7: Is this part of section 3?
Some parts sound good as discussion.