Topic 1 Moulds

Moulds are multicellular microscopic fungi living in animal or plant subtracts and play a critical role in the decomposition of dead plants and animals. Most are filamentous and produce spores that can be spread in air and water or by insects.

Moulds have branches and roots difficult to see and may be very deep when growing in foods. Some invisible bacteria may also grow along with the fungi in moldy foods.

Molds dispersal

Pilobolus, also called hat-thrower fungus, are known for their explosive spore dispersal up to 3 m away and can reach speeds of up to 90 km/h

Molds can cause allergies, and others may produce mycotoxins, a disease-causing metabolite. Moulds that produce toxic mycotoxins can grow on numerous human and animal foodstuffs such as cereals, dried fruits, nuts and spices, but are also known to be on celery, grape juice, apples, and other products.

However, moulds can also produce natural compounds with a biological activity. These metabolites have a wide range of therapeutic applications, including penicillin (produced by Penicillium notatum), which was the first antibiotic to be discovered and one of the most commonly used (Demain & Martens, 2017).

Air dispersal of mold spores

Chains of spores of Conidia are dispersed from a growing colony of mold

Source: Department of Plant Pathology Uni. Kiel

Other molds are used to produce different types of cheese, like Roquefort (Penicillium roqueforti) or Cabembert (Penicillium camemberti).

Dispersal of mold ascospores

Source: Department of Plant Pathology Uni. Kiel

Aspergillus terreus colony

Author: Medmyco at English Wikipedia

Description: J Scott, Aspergillus terreus colony on Rose Bengal Agar, photographed in Nomarski Differential Interference Contrast Microscopy

Source: Wikicommons

Penicillium sp conidiophore

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/

Author: AJC1