Spectrum Pest Management

MOLD

The Problem: Mold

There are thousands of known species of molds, which include opportunistic pathogens, saprotrophs, aquatic species and thermophiles. Like all fungi, molds derive energy not through photosynthesis but from the organic matter on which they live. Typically, molds secrete hydrolytic enzymes, mainly from the hyphal tips. These enzymes degrade complex biopolymers such as starch, cellulose and lignin into simpler substances which can be absorbed by the hyphae. In this way, molds play a major role in causing decomposition of organic material, enabling the recycling of nutrients throughout ecosystems. Many molds also secrete mycotoxins which, together with hydrolytic enzymes, inhibit the growth of competing microorganisms.

Molds reproduce through small spores, which may contain a single nucleus or be multinucleate. Mold spores can be asexual (the products of mitosis) or sexual (the products of meiosis); many species can produce both types. Some can remain airborne indefinitely, and many are able to survive extremes of temperature and pressure.

Although molds grow on dead organic matter everywhere in nature, their presence is only visible to the unaided eye when mold colonies grow. A mold colony does not comprise discrete organisms, but an interconnected network of hyphae called a mycelium. Nutrients and in some cases organelles may be transported throughout the mycelium. In artificial environments like buildings, humidity and temperature are often stable enough to foster the growth of mold colonies, commonly seen as a downy or furry coating growing on food or other surfaces.

Some molds can begin growing at temperatures as low as 2C. When conditions do not enable growth, molds may remain alive in a dormant state, within a large range of temperatures before they die. The many different mold species vary enormously in their tolerance to temperature and humidity extremes. Certain molds can survive harsh conditions such as the snow-covered soils of Antarctica, refrigeration, highly acidic solvents, and even petroleum products such as jet fuel.

Xerophilic molds use the humidity in the air as their only water source; other molds need more moisture.

Mold Growing at Rapid Rate
Mold growing in the corner of house.

Detecting mold can be accomplished through a visual inspection and testing. During a visual inspection, you want to visually check for mold growth in any areas of the home that have suffered from flood damage, water damage, or a plumbing leak. It only takes 24 - 48 hours for mold to grow after a water intrusion.

Health Effects

Exposure to bacteria and fungus in indoor air has emerged as a significant health problem in residential environments as well as in occupational settings[citation needed].

Mold spores can be allergenic, causing irritations of eye, nose, throat, and lungs. In response to this, environmental health research has yielded tests such as the MELISA test, which can determine whether or not a person is allergic to a specific mold.

Molds may excrete liquids or gases; not all can be detected by smell. Some molds generate toxic liquid or gaseous compounds, called mycotoxins. Molds that produce mycotoxins are sometimes referred to as toxic molds. Of these molds, some only produce mycotoxins under specific growing conditions. Mycotoxins are harmful or lethal to humans and animals when exposure is high enough.

Dermatophytes are the parasitic fungi that cause skin infections such as Athlete's foot and Jock Itch. Most dermataphyte fungi take the form of a mold, as opposed to a yeast, with appearance (when cultured) that is similar to other molds.

Opportunistic infection by molds such as Penicillium marneffei and Aspergillus fumigatus is a common cause of illness and death among immunocompromised people, including people with AIDS.

ACT NOW

Don't wait for mold to take over your house and adversely effect your health. Call us now at 256-990-1815 to schedule an inspection and quote for treatment.

Source: Wikipedia:Fungus/ Source: US Inspect

About Us | Site Map| Contact Us | ©2006 Spectrum Pest Management