The fungus or fungi is a member present in the group of eukaryotic organisms. The microorganisms such as molds and yeasts are included in the fungi. These are added in a separate kingdom apart from the plant and animal kingdoms. Due to the presence of chitin in the cell walls of fungi, these are differentiated from the other kingdoms.
The fungi are considered heterotrophs and do not undergo photosynthesis. The branch of biology that deals with the study of fungi is called mycology. Molds are included in the group of fungi known as Hyphomycetes. These have filamentous hyphae that produce conidia or airborne spores. Molds are present in nature to recycle the organic wastes present.
Mold or mould is a type of fungus. These are in green, purple, black, white, or orange in colour that are found living anywhere outdoor or indoor. They can thrive in the oxygen in the surrounding environment. They reproduce through spores that are lightweight in nature and are present in the air. They are harmless in small amounts but in case if they are landed on the damp spot they will start growing. They will start releasing the spores and once the spores are released they can be transported to the respiratory system when inhaled. Thus it can make people fall sick.
Mould Fungi Growth
The mould fungi have the ability to grow on walls, floors, carpet, appliances, and on furniture especially in moist places. Thus they are found mostly in kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and crawl spaces. These are the diverse organisms that the growth of hyphae of which leads to discolouration of the food. The hyphae form a network of tubular branching that is called mycelium.
Since the hyphae are transparent in colour, mycelium is found on the foods like fine and fluffy white threads. The compartments that are connected along the hyphae can delimit the cross-walls. Each of these compartments contains one or more nuclei that are genetically identical. The dust texture that is found due to the moulds are formed by the differentiation at the end of hyphae that produces asexual spores.
Bread Mold Fungi
Many people know that the bread that is left outside can become a home for mold growth. While some of the molds are dangerous and some are harmless, different kinds of molds grow in different places. Some grow on plants, whereas some grow on wood. Some other molds are found growing on the bread thus called bread mould. The presence of rich organic materials found in it such as sugar and carbohydrates promotes the growth of the spores on the bread. Thus the bread that is disclosed to the open environment, the growth of mold can be seen on it within five to seven days.
There are different types of moulds, they are:
Black Bread Mold: It is commonly known as Rhizopus stolonifer. It is the most commonly found bread mould. Along with the bread they also appear on the fruits and vegetables. Due to the presence of these molds, it can cause rotting, these molds have the capability to kill the plants as well. Usually, these occur as green patches or fuzzy blue in colour. If these patches are not touched then they can turn into black colour and become splotchy centres. Certain molds can cause allergic reactions in the people who consume them, but in the case of some people, it is not dangerous even then it can cause vomiting, nausea, and indigestion.
Penicillium Bread Mold: It is a genus of bread molds, these are commonly found on foods. Most of the species of these types of moulds are similar and practically difficult to differentiate without any depth analysis. These are unique and interesting. These are used by people to flavour foods, for example, blue cheese. Some other species of this type produce a molecule known as penicillin. This molecule is used as an antibiotic by people. They usually appear on the bread as light blue, gray, or fuzzy white patches. These are not dangerous and are not allergic. Some of the penicillins can produce a substance called mycotoxins. These can cause cancer and some other illness.
Cladosporium Bread Mold: This type of mould causes the most irritating allergies to people. These appear on the bread patches where the colour of the patches varies from green to black. Since they produce an odour compared to other molds it helps us to detect the growth of molds before consuming them. The Penicillium molds also can produce mycotoxins, even though there are various colours of patches and the reactions due to these molds can reproduce through microscopic spores.
Aspergillus, Fusarium, Rhizopus, Mucor on bread are the other types of molds.
Fungi Like Protists
The mold fungus doesn’t have a specific taxonomic or phylogenetic grouping but these can be found in the divisions such as Ascomycota and Zygomycota. Mold is the common name used for non-fungal groups such as slime molds or water molds. They help in the biodegradation of natural materials. They play an important role in the production of enzymes, antibiotics, beverages, and pharmaceuticals. Many molds can inhibit the growth of other microorganisms surrounding them by synthesizing the mycotoxins and siderophores along with the lytic enzymes. The spores produced by the mold might be sexual or asexual. Some molds produce hydrophobic and small spores. These are wind dispersal and they can be airborne for longer periods of time.
The slime molds and water molds were the fungi like protists, are now considered as these are different from fungi. These are small and slimy-like structures; they are different from the fungi in several ways. The cell walls of these protists are made up of cellulose whereas fungi have chitin in the cell wall. The fungi have divisions in between their cells whereas the fungi like protists lack that. Protists have diploid nuclei and fungi have haploid nuclei. The protists have various modes of reproduction. The slime molds at first are considered as mobile cells, but it does have a stationary reproductive phase that helps to produce some reproductive structures known as fruiting bodies. Due to the presence of many differences, the scientists know that these protists are not related to any other species or groups.
Mould Fungi in Food Production
The Koji molds included in the group of Aspergillus species, such as Aspergillus oryzae, and A. sojae, are found in Eastern Asia for many centuries. These two species are used in the fermentation of soybean and wheat mixture. This fermentation can lead to the formation of soybean sauce and soybean paste. Through a process called saccharification, the Koji molds break down the scratch content present in the rice, sweet potato, barley, etc. These molds are used in the preparation of the Katsuobushi.
The mold Monascus purpureus is found commonly in Asian diets. Red rice yeast is the product of these types of mold that are grown on the rice. Monacolins are several collective compounds present in the yeast. These compounds help in the inhibition of the synthesis of cholesterol. According to some studies, it is confirmed that red rice yeast is considered a dietary supplement. These are combined with fish oil, it is very effective in the reduction or control of bad cholesterol. In the reduction process of bad cholesterol, these can perform the same function as that of statin drugs.
Mould Fungi in Pharmaceutical
Accidentally Alexander Flemming discovered the antibiotic called penicillin. This is derived from the mold called Penicillium rubrum. He invented that this antibiotic can inhibit the growth of bacteria that can cause infections. But he couldn’t produce the amount required to form a medicine.
Several cholesterol-lowering molds are also present where the drugs produced from these are known as statin drugs. An immunosuppressant drug called cyclosporine is used to suppress the organs that are transplanted.
Mould on Plants
It is a microbial genus that has approximately 40 species of molds. These are commonly found in the soil, digestive system. The mould on plants usually seen also belongs to mucor. The spores can grow quickly both on the plant leaves and stems. Even though it cannot kill the plant, it affects the growth of the plant. These are found growing in damp, warm, and humid conditions. Keeping the plants in shade and watering them overly can cause the formation of these molds.
Molds are the fungi that are found in microscopic size. To nature, molds are very important for the degradation of the organic matter present in the environment. Wherever there is a presence of moisture, the formation of molds occurs. Wherever the mold is found the health problems will arise. Thus to eliminate the growth of these molds some measures have to be taken. The moisture content has to be reduced. If the molds have been spread to the carpets or other items that are present adjacent to the growth of mold. To avoid that the adjacent items have to be removed. Dry the walls where the growth of mold has occurred. The growth of molds is commonly found on walls. These also include moist environments such as washrooms, basements, and laundry rooms.