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    Review of 'Mind the gap between non-activated (non-aggressive) and activated (aggressive) indoor fungal testing: a short paper'

    Mind the gap between non-activated (non-aggressive) and activated (aggressive) indoor fungal testing: a short paperCrossref
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    Mind the gap between non-activated (non-aggressive) and activated (aggressive) indoor fungal testing: a short paper

    Indoor fungal testing has been within the researchers’ scope of interest for more than a century. Various sampling and analysis techniques have been developed over the years, but no testing protocol has been yet standardised and widely accepted by the research and practitioner communities. The enormous diversity in fungal taxa within buildings with varied biological properties, and implications on the health and wellbeing of the occupants and the building fabric complicates the decision-making process for selecting an appropriate testing protocol. This study aims to present a critical review of non-activated (or non-aggressive/passive) and activated (or aggressive/active) approaches focusing on the preparation of the indoor environment prior to sampling. The study emphasises the potential errors while interpreting results obtained from testing protocols based on non-activated and activated strategies.

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      This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at www.scienceopen.com.

      Non-aggressive,Mould growth assessment,Built environment,Aggressive,Fungal testing,The Environment,Sustainable development,Mould,Indoor fungi
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      Review text

      UCL Press 13-05-2022: Mind the gap between non-activated (non-aggressive) and activated (aggressive) indoor fungal testing: a short paper.

      Interesting paper, but for a short paper it is quit long, especially the introduction. Perhaps sections 2.1 and 2.2 could be condensed into 10-15 lines together with table 2 since your results do not involve fungal counts as such.

      It is important that the authors distinguish between the state (of thr air) of the room prior to air sampling and the air sampling method itself. Air sampling itself that can be either passive (or non-volumetric (e.g. open Petri dishes)) or active (or volumetric (e.g. Andersen sampler, Slit-to-agar sampler etc.)).

      I think that it would make more sense to the reader to use the terms “passive”, “active” and “aggressive” for the preparation/set-up prior to air sampling, instead of non-active, non-aggressive, and then define in the text what you mean and non-volumetric and volumetric for the sampling. Intuitively the reader will know what the terms involve. Table 1 could be used for the definitions. It also makes the headline 2. Non-activated (non-aggressive) and activated (aggressive) protocols is difficult to understand.

      Hence a protocol could be either “passive and non-volumetric” (a person sneaks into an empty room, place two Petri dishes on the table, removes the lids and sneaks out again), “active and volumetric” (several persons move freely about in the room and sample several times with a MAS100 air sampler) or “aggressive and non-volumetric” (a person use a leaf blower in the room for 5 min, place two Petri dishes on the table, removes the lids and walks out).

      The authors should also state something about safety measures for the person, who operates the leaf blower – such as dust mask, respirator etc.


      It would be easier for the reader if the authors could follow the “normal” layout:

      1. Introduction

      1.1. subsection etc.

      2. Materials and Methods

      3. Results and Discussion

      4. Conclusion

      5. References

      Furthermore, Table headings have to be “on top” of the table as opposed to figure legends, which have to be below the figures and please insert page numbers.


      Language and wording:

      Though the manuscript is well written, changing some words might help the reader.

      Change reserve(s) to reservoir(s) throughout the text (e.g. reservoir of plant pathogenic propagules in soil)

      Use particles counted and particle counts instead of particle readings or particles measured.

      Change blowing duration(s) to blowing time.

      In the figures the unit is minutes, but it is difficult to relate to 4000 min. or 10000 min. Please change to hours. You of course keep the blowing time in minutes.


      Specific questions:

      How high/low was the blower placed?

      Did the experiment run continuously for 10000 min. (167 hours or 7 days)?

      Was the room sealed of for all 7 days?

      The dust you used in your experiment was that just what was in the chamber, or did you add more?

      Usually electric equipment, like the blower, produce particles during operation and thereby increase the number of particles in the sealed chamber. Small particles may also stick together and decrease in numbers. Have you seen that in your study?



      You do not state best practice for air sampling after aggressive preparation prior to air sampling according to your results. What would you recommend for blowing time and for sampling hight?

      Have the authors tested if particle counts and volumetric air sampling show the same results?


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