Identifying airborne fungi in Seoul, Korea using metagenomics

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Journal of Microbiology

Publication Date






First Page


Last Page



Han-Gug Misaengmul Hag-hoe,The Mircobiological Society of Korea


allergen, fungi, metagenomics, springtime


Fungal spores are widespread and common in the atmosphere. In this study, we use a metagenomic approach to study the fungal diversity in six total air samples collected from April to May 2012 in Seoul, Korea. This springtime period is important in Korea because of the peak in fungal spore concentration and Asian dust storms, although the year of this study (2012) was unique in that were no major Asian dust events. Clustering sequences for operational taxonomic unit (OTU) identification recovered 1,266 unique OTUs in the combined dataset, with between 223᾿96 OTUs present in individual samples. OTUs from three fungal phyla were identified. For Ascomycota,Davidiella (anamorph: Cladosporium) was the most common genus in all samples, often accounting for more than 50% of all sequences in a sample. Other common Ascomycota genera identified were Alternaria, Didymella, Khuskia, Geosmitha, Penicillium, and Aspergillus. While several Basidiomycota genera were observed, Chytridiomycota OTUs were only present in one sample. Consistency was observed within sampling days, but there was a large shift in species composition from Ascomycota dominant to Basidiomycota dominant in the middle of the sampling period. This marked change may have been caused by meteorological events. A potential set of 40 allergyinducing genera were identified, accounting for a large proportion of the diversity present (22.5᾿7.2%). Our study identifies high fungal diversity and potentially high levels of fungal allergens in springtime air of Korea, and provides a good baseline for future comparisons with Asian dust storms.



Print ISSN




Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2014, The Microbiological Society of Korea. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Oh, S.-Y., Fong, J. J., Park, M. S., Chang, L., & Lim, Y. W. (2014). Identifying airborne fungi in Seoul, Korea using metagenomics. Journal of Microbiology, 52(6), 465–472. doi: 10.1007/s12275-014-3550-1