There are various methods for mold testing in your home or business that can be done, such as from the surfaces and air. You can also perform mycotoxin testing to detect the presence of mycotoxin metabolites with a dust sample test kit or a swab and then send it to a certified lab.
The identification of specific mycotoxins in dust will help you identify the species of mold for diagnostic fingerprinting purposes and your health care provider.
The idea is to test for the accumulation of mold mycotoxins in the dust of your home such as your HAVC filter or other areas where you can obtain approximately 3 grams of dust to achieve the recommended detection limit.
These tests for over a dozen different toxigenic molds using either the ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) detection method or with DNA via the (EMMA) Environmental Mold And Mycotoxin Assessment test.
If you have an extremely clean home or change your HVAC filters often, then it might be difficult to find enough dust to obtain a sample.
Laboratories that process mycotoxins utilize sensitive molecular detection technology to look for the presence of some of the most toxigenic molds. For example, EMMA tests directly for 16 of the most poisonous mycotoxins using patented detection methods.
Testing is simple, only requiring small amounts of dust or material from AC or heater filters.
“The EMMA test is a quantitative PCR (qPCR) procedure for the detection of ten pathogenic fungal species in environmental dust specimens. EMMA includes six assays that were designed and used by the EPA and four assays that were previously developed by RTL. The qPCR method used in these assays utilize the hybridization of a species-specific probe to a complementary DNA strand to amplify and detect fungal DNA.
The data generated for each specimen is plotted against a standard curve to calculate the amount of DNA present in the specimen (nanograms of DNA per milliliter of dust in PBS buffer). A process control (Geotrichum) is included to verify that the DNA extraction procedure was successful, and PCR positive controls are run with each amplification.”
The RealTime Lab Mycotoxin Panel detects 15 different mycotoxins, as follows:
Trichothecenes (Satratoxin G and H,
Isosatratoxin F, Roridin A, E, H, and L2, and Verrucarin A and J.),
Ochratoxins (Ochratoxin A), Aflatoxins
(Aflatoxin B1, B2, G1, and G2), and
Gliotoxin (bis (methyl) gliotoxin)
According to ESML:
“The Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) professional may select different types of sampling procedures depending on the project’s scope. The most common sampling procedure used is swab or wipe sampling. The sample would consist of swabbing a known area, usually 10 square inches or centimeters, with a sterile swab or gauze.
An acceptable swab/wipe solvent is PBS solution, sterile water, or methanol. Building materials with visible fungal growth can also be submitted to a laboratory for mycotoxin analysis. Clearance testing can be performed with swabs by swabbing the surfaces of flat areas such as desks, baseboard molding, or HVAC vents.
The presence or absence of toxins can guide the remediation contractor as to the extent and effectiveness of the cleanup procedures used.”
Mycotoxin testing can cost a lot more than traditional mold surface and air samples, generally starting at about $400 to $1,000 or more per sample. The fees will depend on the method used, laboratory, company and area of the world, which is in addition to the normal inspection fee.
If you have current or recent mold contamination but have not addressed a whole house cleaning, then you can assume that there may be cross-contamination unseen to the naked eye. Mycotoxin testing may not be needed in this case and may be an unneeded expense.
You may just need to perform a mycotoxin deep cleaning of your entire home. Read more about this process in my article, “How to remove mold mycotoxins and cross contamination.”
1. Real Time Labs
Moe Bedard is the founder of Mold Safe Inspections and manager at Mold Safe Solutions. A full-service Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) company specializing in property water damage, mold inspections, consultations, and mold remediation.
If you need help with a project, please call 760-818-6830.