Glycyphagus domesticus

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Code: d73
Latin name: Glycyphagus domesticus
Family: Acaridae
Common names: Storage mite, Furniture Mite, Food mite

Allergen Exposure

Geographical distribution

This Storage mite of the Glycyphagidae family, also known as Furniture mite, is found in foods and grains in warehouses and other storage areas. In homes, it thrives in infested foodstuffs and in damp areas, where it feeds on moulds.

A hairy mite, 0.3 – 0.7 mm in length, it has a soft, cream-white body with yellowbrown legs. For both sexes, the body bristles are very long and feathery. Microscopically, they are recognised by the long hairs at their tips. Development from egg to adult occurs in 22 days at room temperature. The adult lives for approximately 50 days. Its main food sources are flour, cereals, other cereal products and fungi.


See common environmental background to mites our Scientific Documents (see link to the right).

These mites are often found in old-fashioned upholstered furniture, in particular in damp items where the stuffing has rotted. They feed on the fungus and multiply in large numbers. Like all other mites, they quickly die if they become desiccated.

Unexpected exposure

Mites were found in 21% of 571 samples of cereal-based food products purchased at food retail outlets in the UK, and in 38% of 421 samples, derived from the 571 samples, which were examined after 6 weeks of storage in volunteers’ homes. Most of the samples had fewer than 5 mites, but a few samples contained more than 20 mites, with a maximum of 428 mites detected in a single sample. The most common species were Acarus siro, Tyrophagus putrescentiae, Lepidoglyphus destructor and Glycyphagus domesticus (1).


  • Gly d 2, a Group 2 mite allergen (2-4).
  • Gly d 3, a Group 3 mite allergen (5).
  • Gly d 5 (5).
  • Gly d 7 (5).
  • Gly d 8 (5).
  • Gly d 10, a tropomyosin (5).
  • Gly d 13, appears to be a lipocalin (5).

Potential cross-reactivity

There is little cross-reactivity between House dust mites and Storage mites (6). Storage mites and D. pteronyssinus, for example, each possess their own unique allergen or allergens. Cross-reactivity among the Storage mites is more common. L. destructor, G. domesticus and T. putrescentiae are allergenically more closely related to each other than to A. siro (7). The protein sequence of Gly d 2 from G. domesticus was demonstrated to have a 79% identity to Lep d 2 of L. destructor, a 46% identity to Tyr p 2 of T. putrescentiae, and a 41% identity to Der p 2 of D. pteronyssinus. Extensive cross-reactivity was demonstrated among Gly d 2, Lep d 2, and Tyr p 2, but little cross-reactivity was found between these allergens and Der p 2 (2). Nevertheless, the immunologic responses to the different mite species are complex (8).

Varying degrees of cross-reactivity can be expected between G. domesticus and House dust and Storage mites as a result of the presence of Group 2 and Group 3 mite allergens. For example, recombinant Pso o 2, a Group 2 allergen from Sheep scab mite (Psoroptes ovis), was shown to be homologous to related Group 2 allergens Lep d 2 of Lepidoglyphus destructor, Der f 2 of Dermatophagoides farinae, Der p 2 of Derrmatophagoides pteronyssinus, Tyr p 2 of Tyrophagus putrescentiae, Eur m 2 of Euroglyphus maynei and Gly d II of Glycophagus domesticus (3). In a Spanish study, a low IgE cross-reactivity was observed between D. pteronyssinus and G. domesticus, but an important IgE crossreactivity was detected among glycyphagid mites at the level of Group 2 allergens (9). The ingestion of third-stage larvae of Anisakis simplex in uncooked or undercooked seafood may cause a human disease known as anisakiasis or anisakidosis. In a study of 400 Italian subjects evaluated to identify the factors associated with the risk of A. simplex sensitisation, this sensitisation was shown to be associated with the consumption of uncooked seafood (anchovies and Squid), increasing age, and sensitisation to G. domesticus (10).

Clinical Experience

IgE-mediated reactions

In line with other evidence that Storage mites have allergenic effects well beyond those in farmers and grain workers (11-12) (and in hay storage more than in grain storage workers (13), recent studies have reported that the Storage mite G. domesticus may commonly induce symptoms of asthma and rhinoconjunctivitis in sensitised individuals in both rural and urban settings (14-22). G. domesticus has been demonstrated to be an important sensitising Storage mite in many parts of the world, including Europe. In the UK, Glasgow’s mild, high-rainfall climate, combined with deteriorating housing and low standards of living in many parts of the city, creates a particularly suitable place for thriving populations of House dust and Storage mites. Thirty-one species were detected, of which the most abundant were D. pteronyssinus (64.3%), G. domesticus (16.7%) and E. maynei (11.6%) (23-24).

In 86 German farmers with rhinitis and/ or asthma investigated by skin tests, the most frequent sensitisations were found for the 3 Blomia species, E. maynei and G. domesticus (23). In a mite survey conducted in the working environments of 121 farms in 5 regions of Germany, out of 859 samples, 743 (86.4%) contained mites. Ninety-three percent of all mites belonged to the order Astigmata (Storage and House dust mite species); 35 Astigmata and 14 Prostigmata mite species were identified. The prevalence of Storage mites was in the following order: L. destructor > Glycyphagus domesticus > Acarus siro > Tyrophagus longior > Blomia tjibodas > Chortoglyphus arcuatus > Thyreophagus entomophagus > Tyrophagus putrescentiae > Euroglyphus longior > Tyrophagus palmarum > Acarus farris > Acarus immobilis > Gohieria fusca (25). In Spain, among 50 children with rhinitis and bronchial asthma, 10% were shown by means of skin test to be sensitised to G. domesticus (26). G. domesticus has also been demonstrated to be present in house dust in Scandinavian countries (27). The presence of G. domesticus has also been reported from Turkey (28). Sensitisation to this Storage mite in Swedish bakers was reported to be rare (29). In southwest Spain, a study was done of the prevalence of sensitisation to G. domesticus in patients naturally exposed to this mite; sensitisation to the more ubiquitous D. pteronyssinus was also investigated, along with the IgE crossreactivity between the 2 mites. D. pteronyssinus was present in about 95% of house dust samples, and G. domesticus in about 50% of the samples. Tyrophagus putrescentiae and Lepidoglyphus destructor were detected in 3rd and 4th place, respectively. Approximately 50% of the patients with G. domesticus at home were sensitised to this mite. The authors suggest the inclusion of glycyphagid mite extracts in diagnostic tests in areas where this mite is prevalent (9).

The importance of T. putrescentiae in Huelva, in southeastern Spain, was studied in a group of patients sensitised to D. pteronyssinus. Among the 136 dust samples studied, D. pteronyssinus was identified in 94.8%. T. putrescentiae was found in 41.1% of samples, G. domesticus in 54.4%. Sensitisation to G. domesticus was not evaluated, but the high prevalence of this mite in house dust indicates the potential prevalence of sensitisation (30). Similarly, in a study of the prevalence of mite species in houses in Bursa, Turkey, 34.38% of houses were found to be infested with House dust mites. G. domesticus was found in 16.67% (31). A lower prevalence, of 2.58%, has been reported from Kutahya in Turkey (32).

In 100 children with a history of mild and moderate asthma who lived in Mexico City, skin tests demonstrated that D. pteronyssinus was positive in 96, D. farinae in 80, E. maynei in 41, Chortoglyphus in 22, B. tropicalis in 17, T. putrescentiae in 12, Glycyphagus in 12, A. siro in 7, L. destructor in 7 and Gophieria in 7 (33). Similarly, G. domesticus has been shown to be present in homes in Chile (34). In Punta Arenas, Chile, the species of Storage mites most representative in homes were: Blomia tjibodas (30.1%), G. destructor (22.5%) and T. putrescentiae (10.8%). The seasons that presented the higher proportions of mites were autumn (39.4%) and spring (37.1%) (35).

The presence of this mite has also been reported from the USA. Among Storage mite sensitisations in Wisconsin dairy farmers, sensitisation to L. destructor was the most frequently found, followed by T. putrescentiae, and G. domesticus (36). In Brunei, examination of dust from sleeping areas showed that Storage mites, especially of Glycyphagid species, were predominant in house dust. On skin tests on 60 asthmatics with 1% extracts of 6 mite species, D. pteronyssinus was found to provoke the greatest number of positive skin reactions (66.7%), but positive reactions for G. domesticus were found in 40%. Skin reactivity to L. destructor was positive in 45%, demonstrating that Storage mites were significant allergens. The authors concluded that the role of Storage mites in the causation of asthma in the tropics may have been underestimated (37).

Allergy to G. domesticus may result in late respiratory reactions. Bronchial provocation tests performed on 2 separate occasions on a farmer with dust from his own grain led to immediate and late respiratory reactions, followed, without further exposure to grain dust, by severe respiratory reactions during subsequent nights (38).

Compiled by Dr Harris Steinman,


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As in all diagnostic testing, the diagnosis is made by the physican based on both test results and the patient history.