Fungal Images & Descriptions
- Absidia – Filamentous fungi that are cosmopolitan and ubiquitous in nature as common environmental contaminants. They are usually found in food, plant debris and soil, as well as being isolated from foods and indoor air environments. They often cause food spoilage like on decaying vegetables in the refrigerator and on moldy bread. A common human pathogen, causing pulmonary, rhinocerebral, disseminated, CNS or cutaneous types of infections. It is also often associated with animal disease, especially mycotic abortion. Absidia corymbifera has a world-wide distribution mostly in association with soil and decaying plant debris.The most serious infections associated mycoses is zygomycosis. Zygomycosis is an acute inflammation of soft tissue, usually with fungal invasion of the blood vessels. This rapidly fatal disease is caused by several different species in this class, but rarely cause disease in an immunocompetent host. Some characteristics underlying conditions which cause susceptibility are: diabetes, sever burns, immunosuppression or intravenous drug use. These fungi have a tendency to invade blood vessels.
- Acremonium – A toxigenic mold type that evolves in its appearance over time. It first starts out as a small moist mold that turns into a fine powdery substance. Acremonium mold is often pink, grey, orange or white in color. It typically grows in household systems and areas such as condensation from humidifiers, cooling coils, drain pans and window sealants. Exposure to acremonium is very dangerous and it can lead to disease in the bone marrow, immune system and other organs. Because it is a carcinogen, it can also impair brain function. Acremonium is sometimes known to grow with other types of mold including strachybotrys, which creates a particularly unpleasant and dangerous mold problem in homes.
- Alternaria – The most common form of allergenic mold in the world. It’s a velvet-textured mold with dark green or brown hairs. It typically grows wherever dampness occurs. In homes, this is commonly in showers, bathtubs and below leaking sinks. Alternaria is also a common species that appears as a result of water damage to a home or buildings an allergenic mold, alternaria causes asthma-like symptoms including in the upper respiratory tract, nose and mouth. Because is spreads quickly, it’s important to remediate alternaria mold immediately before it overtakes a home.
- Ascospores – A large category of spores (produced in a sac-like structure) that are found everywhere in nature and include more than 3000 genera. Most ascospores of health importance are identified separately by their genus (e.g. Chaetomium) , and ascospore category is used primarily on IAW reports for a large group of less important spore types often found in quantity on outdoor and indoor air samples where the spores do not appear to represent any significant pathogen or allergic affect.
- Aspergillus – A common mold found in American households. It has long flask-shaped spored that can form thick layers or walls of mold. This creates long chains of mold growth on surfaces. Because there are over 185 species of aspergillus mold, it can appear in many different colors. Aspergillus is an allergenic mold, but it is also capable of becoming more toxic depending on the species and the environment affected. It can lead to symptoms such as asthma attacks, lung infections and respiratory inflammation. Certain aspergillus mold species are capable of producing afatoxins, a know and deadly carcinogen.
- Aureobasidium – An allergenic mold that can sometimes be found behind wallpaper or on painted or wooden surfaces. Aureobasidium usually develops in a pink, brown or black color. As it ages, it typically turns a darker brown color.The primary health risk of aureobasidium is its ability to cause infections of eye, skin and nails. Because of its potential to cause dermatitis (skin rash), it should never be touched directly with bare skin.
- Bipolaris – A fungus that causes allergic fungal sinusities, characterized by the presence of bipolaris in the sinuses. In certain people with sever allergies, the large spores of this fungus can travel to the sinuses (upper respiratory tract), where they attach to the mucus and grow, producing an unrelenting allergic reaction that progressively and permanently damages the sinuses. This mold is a potential allergen and is the leading cause of allergic fungal sinusitis. Some people may experience hay fever or asthma.This fungus can grow as a mold in semi-dry environments, and dry spores are distributed by wind. Bipolaris grows in plant debris, soil, and acts as a plant pathogen towards numerous plants, particularly grasses. It can grow inside ona variety of materials. Bipolaris has been reported to produce the mycotoxin – sterig-matocystin that has been shown to cause liver and kidney damage when ingested by laboratory animals. This mold can present human risk factors. They can lead to opportunistic infections in both health individuals as well as immunocompromised persons.
- Botrytis – A fungus that affects many plant species, although its most notable hosts may be wine grapes. Botrytis blight can attach all parts of the plant except the roots. In horticulture, it is usually called “grey mold”. Standing water on plant leaf surfaces provides a place for spores to germinate. Humid conditions can result from improper irrigation practices, plants placed too close together resulting in inefficient ventilation and air flow (particularly in green houses). The fungus removes water from the grapes, leaving behind a higher percent of solids, such as sugars, fruit acids and minerals. This results in a more intense, concentrated final product. The wine is often said to have an aroma of honeysuckle and a bitter finish on the palate. Botrytis produces an anti-fungal that kills yeast and often results in fermentation stopping before the wine has accumulated sufficient levels of alcohol.
- Candida – An opportunistic pathogenic yeast that is a common member of the human gut flora. It does not proliferate outside the body. It is detected in the gastrointestinal tract and mouth of 40-6-% of healthy adults. Candida albicans is one of the few species of the genus Candida that causes the human infection candidiasis, which results from an overgrowth of the fungus. Several key symptoms indicate an overgrowth of candida, including oral thrush, recurring genital yeast infections, digestive issues and fungal infections of the skin and nails.
- Chaetomium – A mold commonly found in water-damaged homes and buildings. Chaetomium has a cotton-like texture and usually changes colors from white to grey to brown and eventually to black over time. Chaetomium mold is usually found in a damp or leaking roof, basement or stink and may be recognizable by its musty odor. Chaetomium mold causes health effects such as skin and nail infections. In some cases, it can produce mycotoxins that are especially dangerous to individuals with compromised immune systems. Because it grows in chronically moist conditions, it is important to repair the cause of water damage in your home. This means you need to be aware of where to find it. Chaetomium mold can grow in places such as your roof, basement foundation or leaky pipes. Cutting off the moisture problem at the source will prevent this mold type from returning repeatedly.
- Cladosporium – An allergenic mold type. It is unique in that it can grow in both warm and cold conditions. It is often found thriving in indoor materials such as fabrics, upholesteries and carpets. It also presents itself under floorboards and inside cupboards. Cladosporium is an olive-green or brown colored mold with a suede-like texture. Cladosporium typically causes allergic reactions to the eyes, nose, throat and skin. Exposure causes skin rash and lesions, asthma, lung infections and sinusitis. While not considered to have toxic properties, cladosporium should not be handled directly due to its potential for causing skin and lung irritation.
- Cylindrocarpon – A genus of fungi (cylindrocladium), mostly plan pathogens that attack over 100 woody ornamental shrubs and trees as well as foliage plants including asparagus ferns and palms. It causes diseases that are favored by humid, warm conditions and overhead irrigation. Over-fertilization and other plant stresses may contribute to the problem.
- Epicoccum – A fungus in the phylum Ascomycota that is widespread and produces colored pigments. Epicoccum nigrum can be used as antifungal agents against other pathogenic fungi.
- Fusarium – A mold capable of growing and spreading even at colder temperatures. It is both an allergenic and a toxigenic type of mold that grows in homes with water damage. Typically, fusarium will grow in carpeting, wallpaper and other fabrics and materials. Fusarium mold is often pink, white or reddish in color and naturally grows on food products and in compost.Exposure to fusarium can cause skin infections as well as allergic reactions symptoms such as sore throat, running nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and dermatitis. Prolonged exposure to fusarium can cause other sever and life-threatening conditions such as bone infections or a brain abscess. Fusarium can produce toxins that are damaging to the nervous system and can potentially lead to hemorrhages and internal bleeding. By nature, it will quickly spread from room to room. If you notice it in one area of your home, examine the rest of the home thoroughly for signs of it elsewhere.
- Memnoniella – Closely resembles the Stachybotrys mold, and can generally be found growing together. They are both considered toxic and produce the same types of allergic symptoms in humans. The major difference relates to size – memnoniella mold is smaller, making it easier for it to penetrate the lining of the lungs.Although it does not usually produce life-threatening health problems, it can seriously affect asthma sufferers and persons with various common allergies. The most typical symptoms include throat irritation, eye and nose itchiness and rashes. Spending time in a closed-in area that is infected with mold and mildew can eventually erode a person’s autoimmune system, causing symptoms to gradually increase in severity.
- Mucor – An allergenic form of mold that usually grows in thick patches. It is often white or greyish in color and grows quickly. It most often grows near air conditioning, HVAC systems and ducting due to moisture from condensation. Old, damp carpets can also grow mucor spores. Mucor causes a range of health problems particularly affecting the respiratory system. When exposed to mucor, it can cause asthma or worsen existing asthma conditions. Mucor also causes difficulty breathing and flu-like symptoms including fever and malaise. In very sever and unfortunate cases, someone who faces prolonged exposure to mucor can develop mucormycosis, a fungal infection that can damage the sinuses, lungs and even the brain. It can also infect the eyes and nose and eventually become systemic in the blood, digestive or renal systems. For this reason, it is vitally important to contact a mold remdiation professional to handle the removal of mucor. Never inhale or handle mucor spores without mold remediation equipment and safety gear.
- Myrothecium – A species of fungus that is a plant pathogen. It is common throughout the world, often found on materials such as paper, textiles, canvas and cotton. It is a highly potent cellulose decomposer.
- Paecilomyces – A contaminant/opportunistic fungus found world wide in soil and decaying vegetation, associated with pulmonary and sinus infections in those who had organ transplants, as well as inflammation of the cornea. Some reports of allergies, humidifier associated illnesses, and pneumonia.
- Penicillium – An allergenic form of mold. It is easily recognizable by its characteristic blue or green colored surface with a velvety texture. Penicillin mold is often found in water damaged homes and buildings. It is found in materials such as carpets, wallpapers, ducting and even in mattresses. It spreads quickly from one area of the home to the next.Unfortunately, though penicillin is responsible for important antibiotic production and food processing capabilities, it is also the cause of terrible respiratory conditions when it grows indoors. Penicillin spores can easily become airborne and travel through the home and can be inhaled by occupants, including pets and children. Penicillin exposure can cause pulmonary inflammation and asthma. When exposed to it for a longer time, it can lead to chronic sinusitis. People with immune disorders should not be exposed to penicillin as a penicillin infection can worsen symptoms and lead to further health complications. Because penicillin mold growth is commonly associated with damp and moist areas, it is critical to remedy any household leaks or water damage as soon as possible to prevent penicillin from recurring and spreading throughout your home.
- Phoma – A common soil fungi that contains many plant pathogenic species.The most important species include phoma beta which is the cause of the heart rot and blight of beets, and phoma batata that produces a dry rot of sweet potatoes.
- Physarum polycephalum
- Pullularia – A genus of fungi (family Pseudosaccharomycetaceae) forming yeastlike colonies that are at first dirty white, then streaked with dark green or black, and eventually wholly black and more or less leathery and including a form (P. pullulans) that causes discoloration of pulp and paper. Commonly found on caulk or damp window frams in bathrooms. It is a type of mildew.
- Rhizopus – Frequently found in house dust, soil, fruits, nuts, and seeds, rhizopus often grows in fruit and vegetable garbage, or in forgotten leftover food.
- Stachybotrys – Known as the nefarious “black mold.” It is a toxigenic type of mold that can also cause allergic reactions. Stachybotrys mold is dark greenish or black in color and has a slimy texture. Stachybotrys thrives in damp, wet areas with humidity levels that maintain these environmental conditions for weeks. It is know for growing on cellulose material such as wood, cardboard, paper, hay or wicker. Stachybotrys is sometimes call “toxic Mold” because it produces mycotoxins that cause sever health problems to those who have been exposed to it. Stachybotrys exposure symptoms include difficulty breathing, sinusitis, fatigue and even depression. Dull aches and pains in the mucous membranes of the sinuses is common among sufferers of black mold exposure. If you’ve been exposed to stachybotrys you many also experience burning sensations in your airways, a tightening in your chest, persistent cough, nose bleeds,airways, a tightening in the chest, persistent cough, nose bleeds, fever and painful headaches. Stachybotrys is linked to neurological problems in children and pulmonary bleeding in infants. If you have black mold in a home with children, it is important to remove children from the home and prevent their exposure. Contact a mold remediation professional immediately to help restore your home back to safety.
- Stephanosporium – Stephanosporium is a genus that lacks a known sexual state and thus belongs to the Fungi Imperfecti. It is generally classified as a dematiaceous (dark-walled) fungus.
- Trichoderma – An allergenic mold type with five different subspecies. It’s generally white in color with green patches. Trichoderma mold colonies grow rapidly as wool-textured clusters and then become more compact over time. It commonly grows in the home on wet surfaces including within wallpaper, carpet and other damp fabrics. It thrives in moist areas, and so you may also find it in air conditioning filters and HVAC system ducts where there is a buildup of condensation.While most trichoderma molds are non-pathogenic, other types have been linked to pulmonary and even hepatic (liver) infections. When it produces mycotoxins, trichoderma acts similarly to stachybotrys. Trichoderma is also extremely damaging to building materials. It contains an enzyme that destroy wood and paper products as well as textiles. This leads to rot and causes these structure to crumble. A trichoderma mold infestation must be dealt with professionally to stop the destruction of building materials and prevent further health hazards.
- Ulocladium – A type of mold that thrives in wetness and water. It is usually black in color. Ulocladium is typically found in homes and buildings that have experienced extreme water damage. It can be found in kitchens, bathrooms and basements as well as around windows with high condensation levels. Ulocladium may grow in conjunction with stachybotrys, fusarium and chaetomium molds and is a good indicator of water damage. Ulocladium has two different subspecies of molds, which can cause serious health concerns in humans. When exposed to ulocladium, people with a predisposition to allergies or immune disorders can experience sever reactions such as hay fever. Some people have even reported skin infections. General asthma-like symptoms and difficulty breathing are the most common effects of ulocladium exposure. Ulocladium is easily confused with other types of mold, so calling in a professional is always a good idea, especially if you suspect that this mold is growing in your home.
With so much to know about different types of mold, how to identify them and what their potential health hazards are, it is always best of contact a professional when it comes to mold remediation. Chronic or widespread mold problems are a serious health concern, and the average person cannot tackle it alone. Professionals have the knowledge and experience to safely and effectively get rid of mold in your home.
by Susan Lillard