Aspergillus is a fungal genus consisting of approximately 180 species. It is a ubiquitous fungus found frequently in urban areas especially in decomposing organic matter or water damaged walls and ceilings. Only a few Aspergillus species are associated with human disease.
A. fumigatus is the commonest of the Aspergillus species to cause disease in humans. Inhalation of its spores is associated with pulmonary aspergillosis in immunocomproised patients. It may also be assocaited with hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
Other rarer species
- A. niger
- A. nidulans
- A. oryzae
- A. terreus
Aspergillus was first catalogued in 1729 by the Italian priest Pier Antonio Micheli who likened their appearance at microscopy to an aspergilum (holy water sprinkler).