Fungal biodetector for indoor air quality and heritage conservation

The CSTB developed a fungal biodetector to safeguard the health of users and the quality of buildings. This monitoring detector is both unobtrusive and effective. It detects mold growth at a very early stage, even when recent or hidden. A asset making it possible to take action as soon as possible, mitigate sanitary hazards related to indoor airborne contaminants, and prevent damage to cultural heritage.

Challenges: improve hygiene in living spaces and conserve cultural heritage

In France, more than a third of the housing stock is affected by mold growth, which causes a diverse range of illnesses, especially respiratory conditions. Only 10% of this contamination is visible. Most residents are unknowingly exposed to these harmful contaminants. For example, more than 7 million people living in France are allergic to them.
Other places, such as schools, hospitals, retirement homes and offices, are also affected.
A survey conducted by École du Louvre Junior Conseil shows that a quarter of historical monuments and about half of national collections are infested.

Fungal biodetector: a groundbreaking solution

More than 10 years of research in environmental microbiology enabled the CSTB to develop an innovative solution. The biodetector identifies the presence of mold in a building at an early stage and signals an alert.
How? The CSTB learned how to take advantage of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which fungi release during their development. This biologically inspired approach enabled the development of a Fungal Contamination Index (FCI) based on the detection of VOCs. The CSTB is now offering a connected monitoring detector incorporating this index.

A solution available to professionals and individuals

Once installed, the biodetector analyses data collected in real time to provide early warning of fungal growth.
Action can then be taken quickly to stop proliferation of mold and correct any hygrothermal issues promoting microbial growth.
With the CSTB fungal biodetector, housing stock administrators, cultural heritage curators and residents can prevent health hazards and damage to cultural heritage.

Widely tested in many environments (homes, museums, châteaux, archives, libraries and painted caves), this device received the Innovative Environmental Techniques Award at Pollutec 2014.