Commonly Found Mold and Fungi Types

mold and fungi in testing dish

There are over 100,000 different mold and fungi types. Not all types of mold are a threat, however. Some types of mold are fairly benign, and some even have medicinal uses. For example, Penicillium is used in the production of penicillin, an antibiotic commonly prescribed to cure strep throat, bronchitis and other forms of infection.

The problem with there being so many species of mold and fungi is that differentiating toxic molds from household molds is nearly impossible for an untrained professional. If you discover mold growth in your home, you should call a professional mold and fungi removal company to inspect the area and determine if your Rochester, New York home requires mold remediation.

Most common molds and fungi:

This mold is commonly found in soil and on dead plant material. Indoors it grows on wet building materials like drywall ceiling tiles and building paper. Acremonium should be considered allergenic and may be a pathogen for immunocompromised individuals.

Commonly found in outdoor air, on many kinds of plants and foodstuffs and prefers rotting farmland manure. It may be resistant to fungicides. Alternaria is considered an occasional contaminant of water damaged building materials which contain cellulose. Although Alternaria is a notable source of fungal allergy, pathogenic infections are also reported infrequently.

There are a wide variety of species of Aspergillus. Some are considered opportunistic pathogens and may cause pulmonary infections. Some members also produce mycotoxins and have been implicated in causing allergic reactions and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Aspergillus type organisms are some of the first fungi to grow on water-damaged materials and are frequently found in water-damaged structures. Although they are commonly found in the outdoor environment, the outdoor frequency is generally considered low.

This yeast-like fungus is commonly found on caulk or damp window frames in bathrooms. Aureobasidium may be pink or black in color. Although it seldom causes infections, it can be allergenic. This is one type of mold that is a type of mildew. It will grow in cooler climates and along with Cladosporium is commonly found growing on siding.

Survives in soil. A gram positive rod which is part of a large family of organisms which are for the most part non-pathogenic for man.

Frequently associated with dry rot, Basidiomycetes are primarily mushrooms, toadstools, puffballs, rusts and smuts. High levels of these spores can contribute to allergies in indoor environments. Poria incrassata is a particularly destructive fungal organism that falls into this classification. Poria has resulted in the collapse of severely infested buildings.

Most commonly associated with plants, Botrytis can cause allergic asthma after indoor exposure. High levels are likely to be found in greenhouses or other indoor areas with high humidity and large numbers of plants.

This is a very common plant pathogen that is frequently found on lumber in lumber yards and is built into most homes. It has not been well studied and has not been reported to be pathogenic or a producer of mycotoxins or allergens.

Commonly found on deteriorating wood products, Chaetomium frequently emits a musty odor and is frequently found on water-damaged drywall. Its health effects have not been well studied, however some rare compounds have on occasion been identified as mutagenic.

Cladosporium is the genera most frequently encountered in both outdoor and indoor air. It is frequently found in elevated levels in water-damaged environments. Some species may be resistant to certain types of treated lumber.

A secondary invader of plant materials, Epicoccum can grow at higher temperatures than many fungi, allowing it to be a human skin pathogen. Colonies produce a wide variety of colors depending on the food source. Although it may be isolated from water damaged building materials, it is generally thought of as a typical outdoor organism.

Found in soils and on plants worldwide, Fusarium can invade corn and barley and produce toxins at lower temperatures than many fungi. Fusarium has affected water-damaged carpets and a variety of other building materials, and can cause infection in immunocompromised individuals. Its spores are typically slimy and may be difficult to isolated from air samples. It has also been implicated in exacerbation of allergies and asthma and may produce mycotoxins.

Gram Negative Rods
Group of bacteria commonly found in standing water or water saturated structures. Most are opportunistic pathogens. Many species release endotoxins that can cause headaches and allergic type reactions.

This mold is found worldwide and is frequently present in air samples. Mucor commonly grows on dung and moist hay. It is fast growing opportunistic and may cause rare infection in immunocompromised individuals. It is considered a mild allergen.

Penicillium species are common contaminants on various substances. This organism causes food spoilage, colonizes leather objects and is an indicator organism for dampness indoors. Some species are known to produce mycotoxins. The health of occupants may be adversely affected in an environment that has an amplification of Penicillium. Penicillium is one of the first fungi to grow on water-damaged materials and has been implicated in causing allergic reactions and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. It commonly produces a strong musty odor.

Found in decaying wood, soil, and plant material, Pithomyces is not known to cause infections or major health problems in humans. It has been found growing on paper but is not commonly found growing indoors.

Frequently found in house dust, soil, fruits, nuts, and seeds, Rhizopus often grows in fruit and vegetable garbage, or in forgotten leftover food. Exposure to large numbers of Rhizopus spores has reportedly caused respiratory complications. Rhizopus can be an allergen and opportunistic pathogen for immunocompromised individuals, especially those with diabetic ketoacidosis, malnutrition, or severe burns.

A common contaminant that can cause toenail infections.

A common soil contaminant. Non-pathogenic to humans.

Stachybotrys chartarum
Stachybotrys grows well on extremely wet building materials containing cellulose that have remained wet for more than a week. It produces mycotoxins that can irritate skin and mucous membranes. One potent mycotoxin produced by Stachybotrys is called satratoxin; it is also toxic when inhaled. Extreme care should be taken when this organism is amplified indoors.

Opportunistic pathogen. It can survive and grow in nasal secretions and on skin. Produces many toxins which contribute to pathogenicity. Coagulase positive are considered potentially pathogenic.

Sterile Mycellium
Fungi that are not mature enough for speciation.

Generally non-pathogenic. Some species can cause infections in humans. Also produces potentially harmful mycotoxins. Odor characteristic of freshly tilled soil. Important in the pharmaceutical industry.

One of the most widespread soil fungi, Trichoderma grows in carpet, on unglazed ceramics, and on paper in damp homes. Some species produce metabolites related to trichothecenes, which can be toxic and may cause symptoms like those associated with Stachybotrys chartarum. It is also an allergen and may infect immunocompromised individuals.

Isolated from soil, wood, and decaying plant material, Ulocladium grows on very wet walls and particleboard. Because of its high water requirements it is considered an excellent indicator of water damage. This genera is allergenic, contributing to the allergy load especially in those with Alternaria allergy.

Found worldwide in house dust, air samples, dry foodstuffs and soil. Wallemia attacks materials with low water activity, is an allergen and may produce mycotoxins. It is known to grow on materials with high salt content.

Common in moist habitats and often able to grow at reduced oxygen levels. This organism can cause allergies and can be an opportunistic pathogen.

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