You may have heard about mold in your daily life. You may find it in on the corner of your house, in the office, and many shady places. A mold may cause damage to the building, and might be able to give an effect on people’s health. But what is mold actually?
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Is mold a fungus?
The term “mold” refers to a group of filamentous fungi that are common in wet materials and food. This group of fungi includes Penicillium that produces penicillin and also fungi that are able to spoil fruits, bread, and also crops. Most of the species grouped as mold are members of Ascomycota division that has a characteristic of producing a lot of spores.
Here are some explanations to help you differentiate fungus and bacteria.
- Part of a different kingdom
Mold is certainly not a bacteria. Although both are called microbes, a mold is very different from bacteria. Both mold and bacteria are members of different kingdoms in biological nomenclature. Mold is a member of fungi kingdom, while bacteria are part of Monera kingdom.
- The biggest difference is in their cellular makeup
Bacteria are said to be prokaryotic (which means they do not posses nucleus on their cells) while fungi are eukaryotic organisms (which have a well-defined nucleus on their cells). In addition, bacteria are a group of unicellular microorganisms which can only be observed under the microscope, whereas fungi are mostly complex microorganisms, except yeast which is unicellular organisms.
- Have different component of cell walls
Both mold and bacteria have cell walls, but the components that compose the cell walls are different. Most multicellular fungi are composed of hyphae (networks of long hollow tubes). The rigid wall that bordered each hypha usually made of chitin (the same material that composes the exoskeleton of insects).
The hypha will elongate at the tips and makes branches which form a dense network called mycelium. In contrast, the bacterial cell wall is made of a component called peptidoglycan.
What is the Difference Between Fungus and Mold?
So, now you have a basic understanding of the difference between mold and bacteria. But, what is the difference between fungus and mold?
As what has been mentioned before, in the classification system, the fungus is a kingdom. Whereas mold is one type of fungus. It is invisible to the naked eye as the measurement is only 2-10 microns in diameter. However, when multiple molds grow close one another, they will become visible as they will spread rapidly across a surface.
There are over 200,00 species of fungi, including yeast, mushrooms, mold, lichen, and truffles. A single type of fungus might be able to morph into different species or take o characteristic from different types depending on the weather and moisture levels.
Molds are usually categorized in one of the three ways; they are:
- allergenic, which means it is very unlikely to cause illness,
- pathogenic, which means mold can cause infection in people with compromised immune systems, or
- toxigenic, which means mold may be toxic to all who come in contact with it.
So, those explanations certainly answer your question: is mold a fungus, don’t they?
Mold Growth and Reproduction
As you may have observed, molds will grow well on damp materials. They can also grow well on soils, on plants, and even on the dead or decaying matter. Different mold species are differentiated based on moisture conditions ranging from very wet to just damp.
Mold use spores to reproduce. Live spores act like seeds that form new mold colonies under the right conditions. Common sources of excessive indoor may lead to mold problems, such as roof leaks from damaged roofing materials, leaking pipes, condensation on cold surfaces, and so on.
How to Prevent Mold Growth
Mold will not grow indoors without dampness, water, or excessive moisture. Thus, the key to control mold growth is by controlling excessive moisture and condensation.
Here are several factors that may contribute to the condensation of water on building surfaces.
- Relative humidity
Condensation will occur when the air is saturated with water, it cannot hold any more moisture. Such as drops of water on mirrors or windows generated by the steam from the bathroom showers. It is very advisable to use air conditioners and/or dehumidifiers to lower indoor humidity. Try to put clothes dryers outside or directly vented to the outdoors.
Condensation occurs when warm, humid air comes into contact with a cold surface and the moisture will condense into water, especially when the exterior walls are not properly insulated. Thus, it is best to cover cold surfaces with insulation.
- Poor ventilation
If there is no air movement within an area, the surfaces can remain cooler than the surrounding areas which can lead to an increased condensation and cause mold to grow. Try to use exhaust fans and build a well-ventilated room to let air pass freely and remove moisture from high-humidity areas.
The above explanation is only a small piece of information about mold. It is best to try to find other useful information about mold so that you may gain knowledge of how to solve the problem related to mold growth at home.