Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Diehl, Susan V.

Committee Member

Borazjani, Abdolhamid

Committee Member

Stokes, C. Elizabeth

Committee Member

Nikolic, Dragica Jeramic

Committee Member

Tang, Juliet D.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Forest Resources

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Forest Resources


Department of Sustainable Bioproducts


Due to the increased occurrence of flooding, biological by-products such as mycotoxins can cause serious health problems for homeowners. This study used two species of fungi, Aspergillus fumigatus and Stachybotrys chartarum, which have been found within homes after flooding events. Two distinct types of mycotoxins can be produced; gliotoxin by A. fumigatus and trichothecenes by S. chartarum. A preliminary study evaluated four wall materials separately, for mycotoxin production and validation of techniques. Based on these results, the experimental study built replicated interior walls of gypsum wallboard, fiberglass batt insulation, wood stud, and oriented strand board; placed the walls in mold chambers on concrete pavers; flooded and drained the walls; and exposed these walls to S. chartarum for 65 days. All four building materials showed some level of mycotoxin present on all collection days. Gypsum wallboard and fiberglass batt insulation had the highest levels of trichothecenes and levels increased over time. The wood stud and oriented strand board also contained mycotoxins, but levels did not change over time. DNA concentrations were significantly higher on the batt insulation compared to wood products. However, DNA concentrations did not directly correlate to mycotoxin levels. These results support the removal of the batt insulation and gypsum wallboard from a home if a flooding event should occur. The finding of the mycotoxin on the wood products requires further research to better understand the mycotoxin’s properties on wood in order to ensure the safety of homeowners.



Fungi||Microbiology||Molecular Biology