Fungal contaminants in drinking water regulation? A tale of ecology, exposure, purification and clinical relevance

Monika Novak Babič, Nina Gunde-Cimerman, Márta Vargha, Zsófia Tischner, Donát Magyar, Cristina Veríssimo, Raquel Sabino, Carla Viegas, Wieland Meyer, João Brandão

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


Microbiological drinking water safety is traditionally monitored mainly by bacterial parameters that indicate faecal contamination. These parameters correlate with gastro-intestinal illness, despite the fact that viral agents, resulting from faecal contamination, are usually the cause. This leaves behind microbes that can cause illness other than gastro-intestinal and several emerging pathogens, disregarding non-endemic microbial contaminants and those with recent pathogenic activity reported. This white paper focuses on one group of contaminants known to cause allergies, opportunistic infections and intoxications: Fungi. It presents a review on their occurrence, ecology and physiology. Additionally, factors contributing to their presence in water distribution systems, as well as their effect on water quality are discussed. Presence of opportunistic and pathogenic fungi in drinking water can pose a health risk to consumers due to daily contact with water, via several exposure points, such as drinking and showering. The clinical relevance and influence on human health of the most common fungal contaminants in drinking water is discussed. Our goal with this paper is to place fungal contaminants on the roadmap of evidence based and emerging threats for drinking water quality safety regulations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number636
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2017


  • Aspergillus
  • Candida
  • Drinking water
  • Fungal contaminants
  • Fungi
  • In water
  • Molds
  • Moulds
  • Mycotoxins

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