Examining the mucus or sputum of patients with and without asthma revealed some 136 different fungal species, with 90 fungal species more common in asthma patients and 46 more common in healthy individuals, according to a new study. Researchers are calling this the first large study of its type.

“Our analysis found that there are large numbers of fungi present in healthy human lungs,” said Hugo van Warden from Cardiff University’s Institute of Primary Care and Public Health, who led the research. “The study also demonstrates that asthma patients have a large number of fungi in their lungs and that the species of fungi are quite different to those present in the lungs of healthy individuals.”

The team believes the hundreds of tiny fungal particles found in the lungs of asthma sufferers could offer new clues in the development of treatments and new lines of research, perhaps leading to treatment adjusted by the fungi unique to that individual.