Pathogens

Molds – Infection, Transmission & Diseases

Molds

Mold is more common in everyday life. For example, they can be on fruit and vegetables or on ceilings and walls. Because the microorganisms can be harmful to health, rapid removal is important.

What are molds?

Molds are fungi just like mushrooms or other edible mushrooms. However, they are much smaller. Ultimately, the mold consists of a network of fine loops that are reminiscent of roots. The individual threads are called hyphae. The mycelium is the actual mold. The mycelium consists of all hyphae. Invisible to the naked eye, it represents the plexus of roots of the fungus and can sit both within and on top of materials.

Occurrence, Distribution & Properties

The term mold includes various microorganisms that pull typical fungal spores and threads. A total of around 100,000 different species have been described. However, scientists believe the number is far higher. It is estimated that 250,000 molds inhabit the earth.

Mold can spread on all materials: on surfaces, floors, food, plants, dead wood or in the bathroom. Molds perform useful tasks in nature. In forests, for example, they break up rotten tree trunks and make room for new plants. The fungus is capable of completely infesting and decomposing many materials. Ultimately, mold only needs an organic basis to reproduce. However, this is found in far more objects than just food. This includes, for example, wallpaper, paper, leather, fabrics, paint, PVC or paste. Fungi need carbon to survive. They extract this from the materials they attack.

While the actual mushroom is not directly visible to the human eye, it is the fruiting bodies that it forms. The mold wants to multiply with the help of the fruiting body. Mold can usually be recognized by black, dark brown or green spots. These appear wherever the spores have managed to establish themselves. Because the actual spread takes place via the spores. These are mostly transported by air. Since the spores are heavier than air, they glide to the ground when there is no wind. Once the spores are deposited on materials suitable for their propagation, more mold patches can be observed over time. Mold spores can be found almost anywhere. They already occur in nature.

Mold prefers a humidity level of 90 percent. However, they can also develop at lower humidity levels. An extreme condition is 60 percent. In the best case, the temperature is between 20 and 30°C. Furthermore, they manage to spread at 0 to 45°C. However, such an environment does not correspond to an optimal situation from the point of view of the fungus.

The mold doesn’t need light to grow. Overall, the demands of a mold are therefore rather low. Accordingly, you should keep an eye on the humidity and temperature in your own home, as well as all the food.

Diseases & Ailments

Mold spores become problematic in closed rooms, since the concentration increases significantly here. Accordingly, people in whose homes mold hangs on the walls or ceilings absorb an above-average amount of mold. Serious health consequences cannot be ruled out.

Mold spores are usually so small that they can easily enter the body, for example through breathing . Many of the spores are less than 10µ in size on average. Mold can sometimes severely stress and impair the human body.

They get into the body in different ways. On the one hand they can be inhaled, on the other hand they spread through the ingestion of moldy food in the gastrointestinal tract . Typically, mold fungi have an increased effect on internal organs .

Their metabolic products are particularly problematic. Mushrooms produce toxins that can result in cancer and liver damage . In addition, they favor the development of an allergy . Substances that can be found on the surface of the fungus are responsible for an allergic reaction. It is called enolase. A fungus usually has different enolases. As a result, it can sometimes be difficult to trace the physical reactions to mold. As soon as the body develops an allergy to a mold, the symptoms usually appear wherever the fungus is present.

Overall, mold triggers a variety of symptoms. These include, for example , gastrointestinal complaints , coughs , colds , conjunctivitis , asthma , skin changes , migraines or joint problems . If the mold has been eaten, abdominal pain is sometimes expressed. Therefore, food with mold stains should always be discarded. Cutting away is usually not enough. After all, the spores, i.e. the visible part, indicate that the fungus has already managed to infect the entire dish. The formation of spores is an indication that the fungus needs new food to survive.

In addition, it is important that an infested wallpaper or wall is treated adequately. Otherwise, the symptoms described can make themselves felt.

Lisa Newlon
 | Website

Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.