Green plants make their own food using carbon-dioxyde from air and water through photosynthesis, while producing oxygen. A great blessing for all living creatures.
Mold is not a plant and not an animal.
Mold is a fungi with its own unique “life-style”.
1. Contrary to green plants, the food source for
mold are carbons extracted from the material the mold lives on. As mold extraxts carbon, it destoys the carbon-containing substances: organic materials such as wood, wood-based products as well as plastics made from petroleum products as well as building materials such as concrete and sheetrock. Mold infestations can have catastrophic consequences by weakening or destroying structural elements in buildings.
2. But the destruction of materials
is not all. While digesting its food, mold releases toxic compounds into the air, which present a health hazards to humans living in mold infested houses.
3. And that is still not all. One mold colony can grow millions of spores to reproduce. When the tiny spores are airborne and dispersed throughout a building, they are inhaled by the people living in the building causing coughing, allergic reactions or asthma. People have become seriously ill from living in moldy places. The smell alone can be bad.
Not all fungi are as unwanted as mold. Some are great decomposers, where decomposition is wanted. For example, when trees are dead and slowly turned to earth. Antibiotics such as Penicillin are fungi. Their development has been a blessing for people. Even in our food we welcome the distinctive taste of the yeast-fungi when brewing or baking.
Spores can be found anywhere. Spores need four ingredients to start growing: food (material containing carbons), humidity from water, oxygen from air and moderate temperatures. If all these ingredients are plenty-full available, spores will grow and start new mold colonies. Since we cannot eliminate the air in buildings nor can we eliminate materials containing carbons nor do we want to live in freezing temperatures, we can only try to keep the moisture in materials low enough so that mold cannot develop.
Mold grows as tiny microorganisms on wood, sheet rock and most all building materials. The problem starts with a tiny spore, which can wait for years to find the right conditions to grow.
Once the spore develops into a fungi, the fungi occupies 4 levels:
– Penetrates through and under the surface into the substrate looking for food.
– Develops an ever extending web creeping along the surface as long as favorable conditions exist.
– Spore-producing extensions grow vertically up. The ends swell and spores are produced.
– When the spores are ready, they are air borne by the millions and dispersed in the surrounding air. The slightest drift can carry the spores far away in a short time, where they will, if conditions allow start growing a new colony.