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Author Topic: What makes mould so dangerous?  (Read 7500 times)

Johann Mahne

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What makes mould so dangerous?
« on: 19/10/2011 10:37:28 »
I live in a country where mould is inevitable.
Our fridge just came out of long term storage. It took me the whole day to get all the mould off it.
What exactly makes mould so dangerous?
Does it produce toxins in the lungs simply by inhaling it or does it germinate in there and close off the alveoli?

 


 

Offline CliffordK

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What makes mould so dangerous?
« Reply #1 on: 19/10/2011 17:58:21 »
When storing a refrigerator or freezer, it is always best to leave the door slightly cracked open.  Find something to stick into the door to force it to have a small air gap.  It doesn't have to be too wide.

I think the risk of mold growing in the lungs is low in HEALTHY individuals.  I think the biggest risk is that it is a potent allergen, and can even trigger asthma.  Sometimes the body's response makes the problem worse than it would ordinarily be.

The risks of colonization by mold, of course, are higher in immune compromised individuals.

Mold on food, of course is a sign of decomposition, and may be associated with both mold and bacterial colonization.  It may make toxins that could make you sick.  However, keep in mind that yeasts are closely related to molds.  And, yeasts are commonly used in both bread production and alcohol production.
 

Johann Mahne

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What makes mould so dangerous?
« Reply #2 on: 19/10/2011 22:16:47 »
Thanks Clifford

 I'll stick to the correct spelling of mould.... Heh.

 Next time I store i'm going to take out insurance, and also cover every item separately. Wooden furniture and leather goods as well as appliances also have mould on them. Lots of rust too.

We get 1.7 meters of rain normally in the Waikato, but this year it was much more.I think this was a major factor.

In NZ we get mould on windows and sills. Moss on paving.
Lichen on roofs.
 
 When i first emigrated here i had a persistant cough and blotches on my skin. Wonder if it was some type of mould or fungus problem. It seems as though i've built up some immunity, because it's all cleared up now.

Is green mould generally safer than black?

 
« Last Edit: 20/10/2011 03:30:11 by Johann Mahne »
 

Offline Phil1907

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What makes mould so dangerous?
« Reply #3 on: 21/10/2011 13:02:04 »
Mold or mould is correct - the former is more commonly used.

Molds are really not very dangerous.  There are only a handful of pathogenic molds.  Immunocompromised folks are subject to infection by virtually any microorganism.  Yeast like fubngus of genus Candida are more common fungal concern for these folks than "molds".

We eat molds and their products constantly with no obvious effect.  Consider cheese, soy sauce, etc. and virtually ever peanut product includes some level of aflatoxin.
 

Offline CliffordK

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What makes mould so dangerous?
« Reply #4 on: 21/10/2011 20:49:42 »
You may find Aspergillosis interesting.  In humans it mainly affects severely immunocompromised individuals (disease, leukemia patients, or those receiving anti-transplant medications).  Sometimes it can be a sign of a previously undiagnosed HIV/AIDS infection, or progression of the disease.

Apparently there have been avian aspergillosis outbreaks from moldy grain, but perhaps it is rare in humans due to selective eating habits. 

Aspergillus, however, is a genus of mold with hundreds of subspecies.   I'm doubtful that color alone would be a good indicator of virulence or allergic response.
 

Johann Mahne

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What makes mould so dangerous?
« Reply #5 on: 21/10/2011 22:21:23 »
 
National Geographic tv showed the aftermath of hurricane Katrina and how people were cleaning up. They spoke about a black "toxic mould". The cleaners were suited up with masks.

   Is alafatoxin produced by fungi or by moulds?
Apparently pet food should be kept dry, as fungi can produce toxins, but i'm not sure if these are alfatoxins.
 I've also heard that some toxins produced by bacteria will not be broken down by re heating food.The bacteria will die but the toxins that they produced can still give you food poisoning.
 
« Last Edit: 21/10/2011 22:31:55 by Johann Mahne »
 

Johann Mahne

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What makes mould so dangerous?
« Reply #6 on: 22/10/2011 03:02:26 »
Quote
Mold or mould is correct - the former is more commonly used
If you live in the USA then you cannot use "mould"  ;D
 

Online Bored chemist

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What makes mould so dangerous?
« Reply #7 on: 22/10/2011 17:04:28 »
All moulds are fungi. Not all fungi are moulds.

I think you mean aflatoxin
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aflatoxin
"Apparently pet food should be kept dry, as fungi can produce toxins, but i'm not sure if these are alfatoxins. " there are plenty of toxic chemicals produced by moulds (and other fungi).
Collectively they are called mycotoxins
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycotoxin

There are yet another group of poisons produced by bacteria. Probably the best known is botulinum toxin. Ironically this is well known due to its use as botox in spite of being one of the most poisonous materials known.
Some of these chemicals are destroyed by heating, but not all of them, so yes, it is possible to get food poisoning from food that has been well cooked. Botulinum toxin is destroyed by heating, but others are not.


 

Offline CliffordK

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What makes mould so dangerous?
« Reply #8 on: 22/10/2011 17:30:38 »
There are yet another group of poisons produced by bacteria. Probably the best known is botulinum toxin. Ironically this is well known due to its use as botox in spite of being one of the most poisonous materials known.
Some of these chemicals are destroyed by heating, but not all of them, so yes, it is possible to get food poisoning from food that has been well cooked. Botulinum toxin is destroyed by heating, but others are not.
Staph Aureus Toxin is another toxin that is well known by reputation, if not by name.  Generally causing a couple of quick trips to the bathroom, but it is generally self-limiting since the buildup of toxins in the food is far worse than the actual bacterial infection (in the GI Tract).
 

Offline Phil1907

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What makes mould so dangerous?
« Reply #9 on: 22/10/2011 19:01:48 »
Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium - not a fungus - and it's GI systoms are due to a heat stable toxin - relevant GI symptoms are rarely if ever linked to GI infection vs. this intoxication.
Mold is a term casually applied to fungi that grow as mycelium under lab and observable environmental conditions.  The kingdom Fungi includes spepcies that grow as molds - "mycelial" fungi as well as fungi that grow primarily as yeasts and those that do both.  It's generally assumed that a fungus can grow in either morphology if the right conditions exist. 
 

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What makes mould so dangerous?
« Reply #9 on: 22/10/2011 19:01:48 »

 

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