BEIJING, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) — Chemists at the University of California, Irvine, reported that they had found nanoscale fragments of fungal cells in the atmosphere, according tomedia reports. Writing in the journal Science Advances this week, the researchers said the fragments were very small, about 30 nanometers in diameter, but in much larger numbers than previously thought.
“These fragments are most likely fragments of fungal spores that expand and rupture when they come into contact with water,” said Michael Lawler, lead author of the study and an expert at the Ultrafine Aerosol Laboratory. The appearance of large quantities of nanoparticles in the atmosphere is often attributed to the reaction of gases in the atmosphere, which is generated by molecular reactions rather than by the decomposition of larger particles. James Smith, a chemistry professor at the University of California, Irvine, is also one of the authors.
Michael Lawler says these fungal fragments are more likely to be inhaled deep into the lungs than complete cells, which can reach thousands of nanometers in diameter. This means that they may be more likely to cause fungal-related allergic reactions or lead to asthma in susceptible people.
The study also explores how these tiny debris helps form ice crystals in the clouds, as studies have found that similar fungal cells promote the formation of ice crystals in the atmosphere.
“Large, complete biological cells are extremely rare in the atmosphere, but we found that the concentration of fungal nanoparticles is several orders of magnitude higher than that of cells,” Lawler said. Therefore, if some or all of them are good ice cores, they may play a role in the formation of ice crystals in the clouds. “
For observation, the researchers introduced air into an intake and screened the particles to receive particles 20 to 60 nanometers in diameter. The researchers then used a thin sheet of platinum wire to collect the sample for 30 minutes, then gasify it and use a high-resolution mass spectrometer to detect the resulting gas.