Mold is a type of fungi which plays an important role in the cycle of birth, development, death, and decomposition of all living matter. Mold can occur at any place. It consists of microscopic spores which can be carried by all types of damp things, plants, and the wind. The spores are responsible for the spread of mold. Some types of molds have mycotoxins, i.e., materials that are considered poisonous.
Even though only a particular section of animal-life is vulnerable to all mycotoxins, certain kinds of black molds belonging to the aflatoxin, tricothecene, and ochratoxin families can pose increased health hazards for humans. Their adverse effects range from mild allergies to even fatalities. The growth of such molds near human dwellings or places of congregation can lead to respiratory or pulmonary infections, and also pose risks to their mental and physical well-being.
Molds can become airborne with the slightest of breezes. This has guaranteed their survival for thousands of years.
Features of mold growth
Carbon is required by mold spores as nourishment to be able to develop into mold. All life on this planet is carbon-based and thus there is no shortage of food for mold. They can grow anywhere and everywhere, including animal food as well as compost mounds. Mold, particularly black mold, has survived through the years mainly due to its ability to nourish and reproduce spores.
The outer edges of mold consists of hair-like projections known as hyphae. The hyphae consist of microscopic cells and are vital to the absorption and digestion of nutrients by the main mold. The spores grow in the outer sections of hyphae and get released into the environment after they mature. Just like all seeds, spores can stay alive as long as the conditions are favorable for their growth. In the meantime, the parent mold keeps on growing and making more spores. This is possible even in an environment that is hostile to its development such as acidic matter, toxic petroleum oil, etc.
Optimal growth conditions for mold
When spores come across favorable conditions, they develop into new hyphae cells and start colonies of mold. Room temperature is optimal for their growth. Carbon is abundantly present in plants; hence, lumber, wallboard, and other cellulose-containing substances are ideal for mold growth. All they require is moisture or sufficient humidity to start growing.
The bathroom and basement, standing water, dryers, clothes washers, dishwashers, and other places with moisture content can facilitate the development of a new mold colony. After the spores have found the right spot that is hospitable, they commence their growth, dig into the surface, expand, and create new spores.
All items that have carbon as a component, including rotting substances and plants, apparels, wood paneling, different types of food, firewood, and carpets can harbor mold spores. Even human tissue is not immune from the attack of mold spores. Mold can also grow under bright light conditions if sufficient water and food are available. By the time black mold begins producing spores, it has already caused substantial damage to the affected area. Such moldy areas are quite difficult to clean and require professional mold remediation services.