With about 50 known species, Alternaria molds are extremely common and widespread. The spores are found in high concentrations during dry, windy conditions, which make them extremely airborne. As such, susceptible individuals can develop allergies upon exposure to the mold spores.
Alternaria is a plant pathogen, and some species are also parasitic on living plants. In fact, statistics show that at least 20% of lost agricultural yields are due to various Alternaria species, and sometimes, these losses can reach up to 80%.
Is Alternaria toxic for humans?
Many species of Alternaria have been known to cause health problems in humans. They produce mycotoxins that affect the respiratory system, skin and nails. Other species are common allergens that may lead to asthma, hay fever, etc., but they rarely cause serious infections. They are of particular risk to immuno-suppressed and wounded individuals.