Experiments with Chemicals and Odours

Blackley tried many volatile substances that "which produced head symptoms however, in no instances were there any symptoms in the least degree resembled those of Hay fever". Odours given by different flowers had sometimes a marked effect, but as for the preceding substances there were none of the symptoms of hay fever.

Blackley voluntarily tried the inhalation of odour from the microscopic fungi of Chaetomium elatum and involuntarily the one of Penicillum glacum. In this last case, Blackley had observed much earlier that straw dust could bring about an attack of sneezing.

In order to determine which fungi could be generated on damp straw, he placed wheat straw, slightly moistened in a close vessel at 38°C. In 24 hours, a white mycelium dotted with minute greenish black spots appeared (Penicillium glocum). After a few days, another crop of jet black coloured spots developed (Chaetomium elatum).

Charles Blackley concluded that "I have reason to believe that Penicillium generates symptoms not unlike those of hay fever in some respects, but differing materially in others, being much more like those of ordinary influenza".

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