Basidiospores are one of the main components of coarse fraction of atmospheric aerosol. Majority of them, the ballistospores of 20,000 species of Basidiomycotina, carry electrostatic charges when getting airborne. To study the polarity and magnitude of primary charges and the hymenial emission rate of charged spores, 128 spore samples of 31 species of Agaricomycetes were collected in natural conditions. A portable device was placed under the fruiting body and the freely falling charged spores were extracted from the air by a horizontal homogeneous electrostatic field. The charge polarity distribution was the same in all intraspecies spore samples; it was unipolar-positive, unipolar-negative, or bipolar, depending on the species. The mean spore charge magnitude was 21–981 e, and it was not related to the emission rate of charged spores. The hymenial emission rate was fluctuating, and the maximum value was 715 charged spores cm−2 s−1. To estimate the territorial emission rate of charged spores, area of the hymenial surface per hectare of forest was calculated for three species and the maximum values were 11 m2 ha−1 and 8.6 × 107 charged spores ha−1 s−1. Calculations showed that a spore charge diminished sevenfold within 47 min. Ecologists, health and agricultural scientists could be interested in this information. It could be useful by investigating the role of microorganisms in meteorological phenomena and in atmospheric processes in general.
M. Saar, J. Salm