This project was developed to fully assess the indoor air quality in archives and libraries from a fungal flora point of view. It uses classical methodologies such as traditional culture media for the viable fungi and modern molecular biology protocols, especially relevant to assess the non-viable fraction of the biological contaminants. Denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) has emerged as an alternative to denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and has already been applied to the study of a few bacterial communities. We propose the application of DHPLC to the study of fungal colonization on paper-based archive materials. This technology allows for the identification of each component of a mixture of fungi based on their genetic variation. In a highly complex mixture of microbial DNA this method can be used simply to study the population dynamics, and it also allows for sample fraction collection, which can, in many cases, be immediately sequenced, circumventing the need for cloning. Some examples of the methodological application are shown. Also applied is fragment length analysis for the study of mixed Candida samples. Both of these methods can later be applied in various fields, such as clinical and sand sample analysis. So far, the environmental analyses have been extremely useful to determine potentially pathogenic/toxinogenic fungi such as Stachybotrys sp., Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus fumigatus, and Fusarium sp. This work will hopefully lead to more accurate evaluation of environmental conditions for both human health and the preservation of documents. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.