<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Mold Misery - Introduction to Mold: Definitions and Descriptions





Mold 101



There are differing methods for classifying living forms on this Planet.  According to some of these, plants and fungi both belong to the Kingdom of Plantae (also sometimes called Vegetabilia), but some scientists recognize five or six kingdoms of nature, in which case, fungi are regarded as a separate kingdom, somewhere in between plants and animals.  With time, there has been more and more tendency to regard fungi as somewhat more like animals than plants.


All molds are fungi, but not all fungi are molds.  The Kingdom of Fungi also includes yeasts and mushrooms as well as mildew, rust, and smuts.  There are about a million species of fungi.  Less than 400 of these have been studied in relationship to human illness.


The study of fungi is called mycology.  Myco refers to fungi and logy comes from the Greek word for study.


Mold may also be spelled with a "u", i.e. mould, and there are good arguments for preferring this spelling, but the more common spelling in the U.S. is mold.


Mold has attributes that resemble plants except that molds do not have chlorophyll.  They get their nutrients from eating organic matter rather than through photosynthesis.  However, unlike animals, molds do not have stomachs even though they have unique digestive activities that allow them to eat, digest, and excrete.  The consensus at this time is that fungi are a bit more animal-like than plant-like.


Molds are microscopic unless found in great numbers, in which case one sees the evidence of mold presence even though the individual specimens require microscopic examination.  They usually appear to be cottony or woolly.  Colors vary enormously and may change during different phases of growth.

Molds consist of spores which are comparable to seeds because reproduction occurs through a germination process that leads to radical increases in spore populations called colonies.  These are sometimes readily visible.  Examples would be the mold on bread or fruit or the classic images of stachybotrys growing on walls.  These colonies appear dusty and with only slight disturbance, spores become easily airborne.

Spores can be found in varying shapes and sizes but are more or less consistent within a particular type of mold.  Reproduction can be "sexual" or "asexual."  Sexual reproduction involves fertilization of a female by a male, a mating.  Asexual reproduction usually occurs through internal division or modification of the hypha.


mold microphotgraph The word hypha comes from the Greek word for web.  This is the part of the fungus that is vegetative.  Extending from the spores are filaments called hyphae (singular is hypha).  These are tube-like and they penetrate the substance being consumed by projecting into the food, building materials, or tissues— basically any organic matter—and providing a sort of conduit for moving nutrients to the spores.  Enzymes are secreted inside the hyphae so that food arriving for the spore is predigested or semidigested.

A mass of hyphae is called a mycelium. Basically, the presence of hyphal structures means the mold is alive, eating, and colonizing.  This causes danger to property and health.


There are three main mechanisms of human and animal infection:

  1. Ingestion.
  2. Contact with the skin, especially if there are open wounds on the skin.
  3. Inhalation of airborne particulates.

Ingrid Naiman

Lesson #2


Sacred Medicine Sanctuary



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