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 Commonly Found Molds and Their Habitat

 

 

Identification

Outdoor Habitat

Indoor Habitat

Allergic Potential

Comments

Aspergillus

Common everywhere. Grows on soil, dead plant material,

nearly

anything organic.

Common wherever humidity is too high. Grows on wallboard, leather, food, wood, etc. Capable of growing over a wide range of moisture conditions from very dry to very wet.

Known allergen causing Type I (hay fever and asthma) allergies and Type III (hypersensitivity, pneumonitis). Can cause allergenic sinusitis, and ABPA (allergenic bronchopulmonar aspergillosis).

Aspergillus fumigatus and Aspergillus niger are the most common species found in indoor air.

Cladosporium

The most common spore type reported in the air worldwide.

Found on

dead and

dying plant

litter, and soil.

Commonly found on wood and

wallboard. Commonly grows on window sills, textiles and foods.

Type I (hay fever and asthma),

Type III (hypersensitivity pneumonitis) allergies.

A very common and important allergen source both outdoors and indoors.

Eurotium

Commonly seen growing on

stored seeds

or other water deprived substrates.

Grows on leather, textiles and other poorly wetting items.

Eurotium is the sexual state of Aspergillus and so would

presumably have the same kinds of production of allergens and toxins.

Whenever Eurotium is present Aspergillus is almost always present also.

Ganoderma

Common everywhere

growing on hardwood trees.

None known.

None known.

 

Hyphae

Common everywhere.

All substrates.

None known.

Hyphae are the "root-like" food absorption strands common to nearly all fungi. They sometimes can become airborne.

Ascospores

Common everywhere.

Constitutes a large part of the airspora outside. Can reach very high numbers in the air outside during the spring and summer. Can increase in numbers during and after rainfalls.

Very few of this group grows inside. The notable exception is Chaetomium and Ascotricha.

Little known for most of this group of

fungi. Dependent on the type (see Chaetomium and Ascotricha).

 

Basidiospores

Commonly found everywhere, especially in the late summer and fall.

Not normally found growing

indoors. Can grow on wet lumber, especially in crawlspaces.

Some allergenicity reported. Type I

(hay fever, asthma) and Type III (hypersensitivity pneumonitis).

Among this group are dry rot fungi Serpula and Poria that are particularly destructive to buildings.

Identification

Outdoor Habitat

Indoor Habitat

Allergic Potential

Comments

Penicillium/Aspergillus

Common everywhere. Normally found in the air in small amounts in outdoor air. Grows on nearly everything.

Wetted wallboard, wood, food,

leather, etc. Able to grow on many substrates indoors.

Type I (hay fever and asthma)

allergies and Type III

(hypersensitivity pneumonitis) allergies.

This is a combination group of Penicillium and Aspergillus and is used when only the spores are seen. The spores are so similar

that they cannot be reliably separated into their respective genera.

Scopulariopsis

Common everywhere. Mostly

reported from soil, dung, and fingernails.

Wetted wallboard, wood, and paper products.

None known.

 

Smuts, myxomycetes

Commonly found everywhere, especially on logs, grasses and weeds.

Smuts don`t normally grow indoors, but can occasionally be found on things brought from outside and stored in the house. Myxomycetes can occasionally grow indoors, but need lots of water to be established.

Type I (hay fever and asthma) allergies.

Smuts and myxomycetes are a combined group of organisms because their spores look so similar and cannot be reliably distinguished from each other.

Stachybotrys

Common everywhere growing on soil and decaying plant material

Wallboards and other paper

products that are wetted. Needs high water content of substrate to grow.

Type I (hay fever and asthma) allergies.

Wet spored mold that generally must be dried out and disturbed before spores can get into the air.

 

 

Various types of molds we have found and their locations.

ALTERNARIA (ATTIC)

Extremely widespread and common spore. Common in soil, dead plants, and foodstuffs. It is often found indoors growing on cellulosic materials and as settled dust on carpets, textiles, etc. Potential opportunistic human pathogen. Commonly recognized as type 1 (hay fever) and type 3 hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

CHAETOMIUM 

Commonly found on a variety of substances containing cellulose including paper and plant compost. It can readily be found on the damp or water damaged paper in sheetrock. The thermpohilic, neurotropic nature of this organism suggests it is potentially aggressive. No toxic diseases have been documented to date.

 

CLADOSPORIUM (ATTIC)

Commonly found on dead plants, woody plants, food, straw, soil, paint and textiles. Common cause of extrinsic asthma (immediate-type hypersensitivity: type i). Acute symptoms include edema and bronchiospasms; chronic cases may develop pulmonary emphysema.

CURVULARIA

It may cause corneal infections, mycetoma and infections in immune compromised hosts.

DICYMA

No information is currently available with regarding the health effects of this mold. It is commonly found on woody materials, cardboard, paper and other cellulosic

Materials.

EPICOCCUM

A common alergen found IN PLANTS, soil, grains, textiles, AND paper products. Secondary invader of damaged plant tissue. Common cause of type 1 allergies (hay fever, asthma) no cases of infection have been reported in humans or animals.

FUSARIUM (HUMIDIFIER)

A common soil fungus. It is found on a wide variety of plants. The fungus also has been found in humidifiers. Symptoms may occur either through ingestion of contaminated foods or inhalation of spores. In severe cases, the fungus can produce hemorrhagic syndrome in humans. This is characterized by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dermatitis, and extensive internal bleeding. Frequently involved in eye, skin, and nail infections.

GANODERMA

Considered a basidiospore. Edible in mushroom form and a very important in the food industries.

 

MEMNONIELLA

Memnoniella is commonly found in soil and often found together with stachybotrys. It is suggested that memnoniella should be considered potentially dangerous in indoor air. The aerodynamic diameter of mimnoniella is smaller than stachybotrys.

OTHER BASIDIOSPORES

Spores from one of the major classes of fungi that include, for example, the mushrooms, shelf fungi, and puffballs.

 

PENICILLIUM 

Commonly found in soil, food, cellulose, and grains. It is also found in paint and compost piles. It may cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis and allergic alveolitis in susceptible individuals. Common cause of extrinsic asthma (immediate-type hypersensitivity: type 1) Acute symptoms include edema and bronchiospams; chronic cases may develop pulmonary emphysema.

PENICILLIUM/ASPERGILLUS (ATTIC)

This group is considered common to indoor environments. It is widespread in the soil and on plants and is also considered a common contaminant of food. It has a musty odor. It is commonly being implicated in pulmonary disease in immunocompromised hosts. It has also been reported to cause skin infections.

Many species produce mycotoxins, which may be associated with disease in humans and other animals. Toxin production is dependent on the strain, or on the food source on which it grows. Some of these toxins have been found to be carcinogenic in animal species. Several toxins are considered potential human carcinogens.

 

PITHOMYCES

Grows on dead grass and plants. Prolonged exposure can cause

Facial eczema. Causes type ii allergies (hayfever type symptoms, asthma).

 

RHIZOPUS/MUCOR

It may cause mucorosis in immune compromised individuals. The sites of infection are the lung, sinus, brain, eye, and skin. Infection may have multiple sites.

STACHYBOTRYS (BASEMENT)

This is a slow growing, dark mold that grows well on cellulosic(paper-containing) building materials. It can produce a number of different macrocyclic trichothecenes which have been described as being toxic to humans and animals. Individuals with chronic exposure to the toxins produced by this mold report cold and flu-like symptoms, sore throats, headaches, fatigue, dermatitis, itching and burning sensations of the eyes and nose, and general malaise. This mold is rarely found in outdoor samples, and it is usually not found in indoor air samples unless the colony is dry is then physically disturbed.

STEMPHYLIUM

Isolated from dead plants, cellulose material, soil and common in air samples in the late summer and fall. Certain species can occur as leaf-spotting parasites of hosts such as tomatoes and other plants. Often the cause of sinusitis, hay fever and asthma. can also cause keratomycosis, skin infections, osteomyelitis, pulmonary disease and nasal septum infections.

TORULA 

Commonly found in soil, dead herbaceous stems, wood, grasses, sugar beet root, groundnuts and oats. Causes type 1 allergies (hay fever, asthma). No report of human infection

TRICHODERMA

Present in nearly all soils and in diverse habitats. Common on dead trees, paper and unglazed ceramics. Often grows on other fungi. readily degrades cellulose. may cause a mycotoxicosis similar to that of some species of stachybotrys, producing trichothecenes, gliotoxins, t-2 toxin and trichodermin.

ULOCLADIUM (ATTIC)

Isolated from dead plants, cellulose materials, and textiles. Causes type ii allergies (hayfever, flu-like symptoms).

 

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