The two papers listed below indicate that amoebae have a role in water-damaged buildings.
Mold growth in buildings has been shown to be associated with adverse health effects. The fungal and bacterial growth on moistened building materials has been studied, but little attention has been paid to the other organisms spawning in the water-damaged materials.
We examined moist building materials for protozoa, concentrating on amoebae. Material samples (n = 124) from moisture-damaged buildings were analyzed for amoebae, fungi, and bacteria. Amoebae were detected in 22% of the samples, and they were found to favor co-occurrence with bacteria and the fungi Acremonium spp., Aspergillus versicolor, Chaetomium spp., and Trichoderma spp.
In addition, 11 seriously damaged samples were screened for other protozoa. Ciliates and flagellates were found in almost every sample analyzed. Amoebae are known to host pathogenic bacteria, such as chlamydiae, legionellae, and mycobacteria, and they may have a role in the complexity of exposure that contributes to the health effects associated with moisture damage in buildings.
Dampness, moisture and mold in buildings are associated with adverse health outcomes. In addition to fungi and bacteria, amoebae have been found in moisture-damaged building materials. Amoebae and a growing list of bacteria have been shown to have mutual effects on each other's growth, but the interactions between amoebae and microbes common in moisture-damaged buildings have not been reported.
We co-cultivated the amoeba Acanthamoeba polyphaga with bacteria and fungi isolated from moisture-damaged buildings in laboratory conditions for up to 28 days. The microbes selected were the bacteria Streptomyces californicus, Bacillus cereus, and Pseudomonas fluorescens, and the fungi Stachybotrys chartarum, Aspergillus versicolor, and Penicillium spinulosum.
Fungi and bacteria generally benefited from the presence of the amoebae, whereas the growth of amoebae was hindered by Streptomyces californicus, Stachybotrys chartarum, and Bacillus cereus. Pseudomonas fluorescens slightly enhanced amoebae viability. Amoebae were indifferent to the presence of Aspergillus versicolor and Penicillium spinulosum.
Thus, our results show that amoebae can alter the survival and growth of some microbes in moisture-damaged buildings.
Yli-PirilaT, Kusnetsov J, et al (2006) Effects of amoebae on the growth of microbes isolated from moisture-damaged buildings. Can. J. Microbiol 52:393-90
Yli-Pirila T,Kusnetsov J, et al (2004) Amoebae and other protozoa in material samples from moisture-damaged buildings. Environ Res 96:250-6.