Suberose: a doença profissional mais portuguesa

Translated title of the contribution: Suberose: the most portuguese professional disease

M. Santos, A. Almeida, C. Lopes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



Introduction/ background/ objectives Portugal is the world’s largest producer of cork. It is derived from the cork oak (quercus suber) and consists of dead cells with cellulose. The tasks with the highest load are usually assigned to the male and the most repetitive to the female; this implies a different occupational exposure, meaning that exposures of higher risk generally occur almost exclusively in male positions.The first reference to Suberose (cork = suber) was in 1947. However, most studies in the sector were carried out in companies with good working conditions, so the conclusions may not be easily extrapolated to most cork workers. The aim of this bibliographic review is to summarize the most relevant information about the topic. Methodology This is a Bibliographic Review, initiated through a survey conducted in October 2020 in the databases “CINALH plus with full text, Medline with full text, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Methodology Register, Nursing and Allied Health Collection: comprehensive, MedicLatina and RCAAP ”. Content The first articles related to the Cork sector highlight the role that some microorganisms have, like Penicillium glabrum (formerly known as frequentans); more recent documents add Chrysonilia Sitophila and Mucor. In places with less humidity the fungal concentration decreases. Workers with Suberosis had skin reactions to the fungus in question and the inhalation of the respective aerosols caused the characteristic symptoms. Some authors also believe that some mites may have some relevance in cork asthma (such as P notatum, Cladosporium, A fumigatus, Alternaria alternata, Acarus siro and Tyrophagus putrescentiae). The suberin found abundantly in cork, may also be associated with some symptoms. Workers are also exposed to cork dust; yet it is less prevalent in the workplace than fungi. Suberose is a pathology of the pulmonary interstitium caused by repeated exposure to dust and mold from cork; in fact, it is the most prevalent disease of the pulmonary interstitium in the north of the country. However, Asthma may also be associated with a lower prevalence. Depending on the size of the fungal spores, Asthma or Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis will be more likely, that is, if smaller (1 to 2 micromers), an alveolar response (alveolitis) will appear more frequently; if larger, a bronchial response, like asthma, can occur. Conclusions The cork industry is reasonably developed in some areas of the country, but knowledge about Suberosis is not always abundant. It would be relevant that all professionals in the Occupational Health Teams with clients in this area were comfortable in the way how to approach the sector; in addition, it is very relevant to develop recent research, disseminating it internationally, not least because Portugal is the country that most developed the sector, worldwide
Translated title of the contributionSuberose: the most portuguese professional disease
Original languagePortuguese
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalRevista Portuguesa de Saúde Ocupacional
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2020


  • Cork
  • Occupational disease
  • Occupational health
  • Occupational medicine


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